The vitamin D-cision brings surprises

A panel of experts acting at the request of the Institute of Medicine has determined that most Americans are in fact getting enough vitamin D from a combination of sun exposure, diet, and supplements. More »

Mindful eating

Several studies have shown that mindful eating strategies might help with weight loss. Mindfulness helps people recognize the difference between emotional and physical hunger and satiety and introduces a "moment of choice" between the urge and eating. More »

Update from the cold front

There is still no cure for a cold, but you may be able to prevent one, or at least cut down on its duration. Here is a brief rundown of some of the candidates that can fend off cold-causing viruses or speed their exit from your body.  (Locked) More »

Understanding the ECG: Reading the waves

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the most common, enduring, and important tests in all of medicine. It's easy to perform, noninvasive, produces results right away, and is useful in diagnosing dozens of heart conditions. The ECG has taken on even more importance lately because a particular ECG pattern, called ST elevation, is a strong indication that a serious heart attack has occurred, and there's more emphasis than ever on treating heart attacks as soon as possible. An ECG isn't necessarily going to be part of a routine physical, but if you need medical attention because you have chest pain, sudden unexplained shortness of breath, or other symptoms that suggest a possible heart attack, you will almost certainly get an ECG. (Locked) More »

Palliative care: Sooner may be better

Palliative care, which aims to improve a person's quality of life during a serious illness, may also result in prolonging life in certain cases. Findings from a study conducted at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital that were reported in the summer of 2010 made a bigger splash. The study included 151 people with advanced cases (stage IV) of lung cancer that had spread (metastasized) outside their lungs, although they were still being treated on an outpatient basis. Soon after the patients were diagnosed with metastatic cancer, the researchers randomized them to receive either standard care for their cancer or palliative care in addition to standard care. Patients in the palliative care group met with specially trained doctors and nurses an average of four times. Compared with the patients who received standard care, those in the early palliative program reported fewer depressive symptoms and scored higher on questionnaires designed to measure quality of life. And the early introduction of palliative care was also associated with less aggressive treatment (less chemotherapy, more time in hospice) shortly before people died. But the result that stood out was that receiving palliative care seemed to help patients live about two-and-a-half months longer. (Locked) More »