Cholesterol pills are one of the great medical advances I’ve witnessed during my professional career. I am talking specifically about a category of medications called statins, drugs like Lipitor and Pravachol. These drugs have prevented probably hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes. Only one problem with these drugs, however: statins won’t help people who don’t take them. And according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, when ...

Read more...

Two problems loom large over the American medical care system. First, we spend outrageous amounts of money on health care, with too many patients receiving too many services at too high a price. Second, our malpractice system is an international embarrassment, with too many health care providers sued by too many patients for too little reason. Many experts have pointed out that these problems are two sides of the same coin. ...

Read more...

It is an oft-recited paradox that Americans like the men or women representing them in Congress while hating Congress as a whole. In fact, respect for Congress is near all-time lows. In what has to be seen as a bad sign for the medical profession, people’s attitudes towards physicians are beginning to look downright Congressional. Most Americans like their doctors, with surveys showing that the majority report being completely or very ...

Read more...

India is not, yet, a wealthy country. Nevertheless its people experience many of the same expensive-to-treat illnesses as wealthier populations in the U.S. and Europe. Therefore, the country has made a series of policy decisions designed to lower the cost of medical treatments. For example, until 2005, it offered no -- I repeat, no -- patent protection for pharmaceutical products, thereby spurring the development of its robust and relatively inexpensive generic ...

Read more...

shutterstock_145891655 Have you ever eaten a healthy meal, maybe some brown rice and stir-fried veggies, and found yourself ready for another meal just a short while later? Or, more often couldn’t overcome a hankering for a satisfying dessert to top off (and undermine the healthiness of) that meal? As it turns out, this lack of satiety is not merely a function of the ...

Read more...

So many foods beckoning us from the grocery store shelves -- but which ones are healthy for us to consume? We could study nutritional facts labels, but that feels as challenging as the math portion of the SAT, with so much numerical information to process. The label tells us how many calories are in the food in question -- how many grams of protein, how many grams of fat, and ...

Read more...

Jonathan Gruber went from unknown to infamous in the last few weeks, a result of disparaging comments he made about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and even more disparaging ones he made about the American people. According to Gruber, the Obama administration counted on “the stupidity of the American voter” to pass the bill. In fact, the Obama team’s “lack of transparency” was deliberate, because they believed the law would ...

Read more...

The food stamp program helps over 40 million Americans pay for groceries. Unlike other forms of economic assistance, this program, called SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), only pays for food, thereby constraining how recipients make use of the aid. But are food stamps constrained enough? SNAP recipients experience higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the general  population.  Experts estimate that SNAP recipients consume almost twice as many calories ...

Read more...

It is well known that Medicare expenditures threaten the financial solvency of the U.S. government. And it is pretty well agreed upon that some of our Medicare spending goes towards wasteful medical care. But which medical care is wasteful and how much is such care costing us?  A study in JAMA Internal Medicine provides a sneak peek at answers to these important questions. The research, led by Aaron Schwartz, a graduate student ...

Read more...

shutterstock_128357456 Such a no-brainer: If patients who receive care at hospital A are more likely to get readmitted to the hospital 10, 20 or 30 days after discharge than patients in hospital B, then hospital A must be doing something wrong. Perhaps clinicians at that hospital are less adept at diagnosing and managing patients’ problems. Perhaps the follow-up care at hospital A ...

Read more...

7 Pages

Most Popular