Category: Health & Medicine

the public health promise of vaping

Smoking is very, very bad. It’s in everyone’s interest to cut it back. And it looks like e-cigarettes might be helpful as smokers try to quit! And then the kids started doing it… and then the kids found the juul. Cigarette...

/ May 22, 2018

what kind of diet should we eat?

I’ve never seen a better, more succinct Q&A on what a good diet means, so I’m sharing this one: I feel smarter, but what happens when new information comes out, like, tomorrow? How can I stay up to date? It seems...

/ May 16, 2018

life and death for black mothers and their babies

This NYT Mag story about a young woman who lost a baby to unrecognized preeclampsia and then had another baby shortly thereafter with the help of a doula is arresting. It highlights some of the research (discussed at greater length...

/ April 24, 2018

performance improvement: if all you measure is garbage, you will get garbage

The New England Journal of Medicine has a fun little post examining measures for performance improvement. As you may or may not know, doctors are notoriously bad at following guidelines or understanding evidence. Many patients wander through the healthcare system...

/ April 20, 2018

let’s stop asking doctors to text while driving

The New England Journal of Medicine shares this perspective about how to help doctors stop burning out — suggesting that the electronic medical record (EMR) and the ever-increasing clerical workload are to blame for burning out doctors: Increasing clerical burden...

/ April 11, 2018

overselling the value of fistula surgery

Note: I’ll be traveling a lot the next three weeks, so posts will be sporadic. Thanks for your understanding! You’ve probably heard about the problem of obstetric fistula — the holes in between women’s pelvic organs that cause incontinence, pain,...

/ March 21, 2018

there are reasons why poor people eat what they eat

Those of us interested in public health and nutrition have heard a lot in the past few years about “food deserts” — places where it’s hard to get fresh and healthy food. It turns out that while poor people may...

/ March 2, 2018

when sex hurts

This essay from Joy Pedrow Skarka about pain and sex says some things that need to be heard: After our wedding, riding the elevator up to our hotel room, I looked into my groom’s eyes and saw excitement. We had...

/ February 28, 2018

preventing child deaths in America

America Magazine asked me to write a short piece about America’s shameful discrepancies in child deaths. It wasn’t easy to squeeze 3 very different causes of death into 750 words, but I did my best. It was interesting  (for me,...

/ February 26, 2018

experts shooting themselves in the foot with conflicts of interest

Skepticism of medical authorities is, at least in terms of vaccine refusal, becoming worse and worse. I think this is a bad thing, and have previously commended Ari Schulman’s essay on the politics of medical denialism to help understand why this...

/ February 22, 2018