What you need to know about rabies

swine-flu-vaccineWe have had a few warm days in Ithaca, and I can see some of the grass in our yard as the snow melts. Spring is on its way!  Along with the warmer days comes a downside: rabies season. [Read more…]

More evidence challenges homeopathy

Homeopathic_medicineHomeopathy is a form of alternative medicine based on the premise that “like cures like.” The idea is something that leads to disease symptoms in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people. [Read more…]

New evidence about our confidence in medical care

blood-pressure-doctor-patientEvery medical treatment comes with risks of side effects and adverse events, and also a chance that it simply won’t work. Because we are each unique individuals with slightly different biological make-ups, we each react differently to medical interventions. [Read more…]

The evidence on children and napping

nap childFor most stay-at-home moms, naptime is a much-welcomed break during a hectic day.  Personally, having 2 hours to myself every afternoon allows me to catch up on messages, start preparing dinner, do some cleaning, and generally enjoy quiet that is elusive when my young children are awake. [Read more…]

What we know about cardiac rehab

heartMore than 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Our medical system is full of treatments to slow the progression of heart disease or reverse it altogether, including the use of medications and surgeries. [Read more…]

The evidence on vacations, revisited

ithaca17n-1-webThe weather has been so cold and snowy in Ithaca this winter that the local visitor’s bureau jokingly began promoting the Florida Keys on their web site with a header that reads, “That’s it. We surrender. Winter, you win.”

Unfortunately, my family stayed in frigid Ithaca during last week’s winter break. But all of the hub-bub about escaping the cold weather made me think about the evidence on vacation and positive health effects. [Read more…]

How much sleep you need

sleepSleep is one of the holy grails of feeling good each day. Get too much and you may feel groggy and sluggish. Get too little and you may feel irritable, depressed, anxious, unable to focus and plain old sleepy In fact, a growing body of evidence shows that sleep problems increase one’s risk for chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. [Read more…]

Looking back at the evidence: Low-fat diets

dairy foodsIn the 1970s, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the United States. A group of U.S. Senators wanted to do something about it.

After a series of hearings, Congress voted to enact the first set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1977. Essentially, the guidelines recommended that Americans reduce their intake of saturated fat found in eggs, milk, meats and cheese, and replace those calories with carbohydrates. [Read more…]

The impacts of military deployment

Iraqi FreedomEven though Operation Enduring Freedom – the war to combat terrorism in Afghanistan and across the globe – has officially ended, there are still about 15,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. All U.S. service members who have served abroad will likely feel the effects of their deployment for decades. [Read more…]

New policy: Doctors should encourage early literacy

read to kidsEvidence established long ago that reading to young children – especially if you engage in a dialogue with them while you’re reading – helps them develop language skills and prepare for school.

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new policy encouraging doctors to talk with parents about reading aloud to children, and providing books to low-income families at pediatric well visits. [Read more…]