Archive for March, 2017

How good is my doctor? Awards, acronyms, and anecdotes…Oh my

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

It’s already hard enough to pick the right doctor for yourself without all these awards and designations to pull apart. Which ones actually mean something and which ones don’t? These awards and the acronyms following a doctor’s name might be easier to interpret than you think. Just make sure not to judge a book by its cover – or a doctor by his or her labels.

Is ADHD overdiagnosed and overtreated?

Updates in Slow Medicine
Updates in Slow Medicine, Contributing Editors

As the percentage of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased in recent years, a new book delves into the connections between pharmaceutical companies and medical experts, and how these relate to rates of diagnosis.

Making health social: Friends and family as part of the health care team

David Scales, MPhil, MD, PhD

Healthy choices can be hard to make, but it becomes much easier when your entire social circle helps you keep up with it. According to a recent study, engaging your friends and family in your lifestyle changes will hold you accountable, and you will be more likely to stick with those changes. Making them a regular part of your “health care team” could go a long way to maintaining your health.

American Academy of Pediatrics urges care and compassion for immigrant children

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

In response to the government’s changes in immigration policy, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released a statement expressing concerns about the treatment of immigrant children.

What’s the evidence for evidence-based medicine?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

The history of medicine is filled with remedies that were relied upon for hundreds of years until they were eventually proven ineffective or possibly even dangerous, while legitimate practices and treatments were disregarded or ridiculed until evidence outweighed skepticism. The bottom line is that medical interventions — from tests to treatments — should neither be recommended nor condemned without considering and weighing the evidence. A future post will discuss what physicians look for when evaluating “the evidence.”

White coat syndrome or white coat logo syndrome? The pitfalls of doctor shopping by “brand”

Paul G. Mathew, MD, FAAN, FAHS

Branding has the power to influence people, but it should not necessarily be a significant, or the only, factor when it comes to health care. Picking a physician based on the name of their hospital does not always correlate with quality of care, and it could even cost you a larger copay.

Time spent in “green” places linked with longer life in women

Elizabeth Pegg Frates, MD

Greenery might do more than just cheer us up. A recent study shows it lowers the mortality rate in women. Green spaces decrease levels of depression and pollution while increasing levels of social engagement and physical activity. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded greenery, get out there and enjoy it more. Even urban areas can increase their greenery by planting more trees and shrubs. See if you can get your community to plant more plants. It will help everyone out in the long run.

How to rediscover meaning in your life

Srini Pillay, MD
Srini Pillay, MD, Contributor

People who feel their life have meaning are less depressed and recover from illness more quickly. But that feeling of meaning can slip away when life hands you lemons. One of the best ways to reconnect with that sense of significance might just be stepping away from your routine and embracing spontaneity.

Parents: Call the doctor right away for these 4 symptoms

Claire McCarthy, MD
Claire McCarthy, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Most parents know when their child needs to be seen by a medical professional, but certain symptoms should be considered warning signs that require immediate attention. If your child perks up, or stops crying, or otherwise looks completely fine once you see a doctor, don’t feel silly. These symptoms terrify doctors, so it’s always better to be safe than very, very sorry.

The tricky thing about asthma

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

While a new study found that a significant percentage of people who had been diagnosed with asthma did not meet the official criteria for a diagnosis, the behavior of asthma can make diagnosing it a challenge.