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…]

Recess before lunch to improve eating habits?

kids_runningWhen my son started kindergarten last year, I was astonished at how little of his lunch he actually ate. I would pack a nutritious meal displayed in a cute, compartmentalized tray, and often he only took a small bite of each item I packed. [Read more…]

Lunch hour? Try going for a walk

WHI Epsom SE August 2009 Credit Paul Glendell  Natural EnglandIf I drive past the local business park around lunchtime, I typically see at least three or four groups of people walking outside. The practice seems like a good idea. It provides light aerobic exercise, gets people outside to soak up some Vitamin D, and can serve as a social hour if you’re walking with friends and colleagues. [Read more…]

The evidence on sugar

SugarScience_Web_Ads_300x250If you pay any attention to advice about healthy eating, you’ve heard that you should avoid added sugar as often as possible. Now a team of health scientists from the University of California, San Francisco has launched a new web site that provides scientific evidence about sugar and its impact on health. [Read more…]

What we know about autism screening

autismThe autism spectrum is a group of brain disorders that results in communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors, sensory issues, and problems with social interaction.

Approximately 1 in every 68 children born in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  And an estimated 3 million people in the U.S. have an autism spectrum disorder.  The data show that this is a growing problem.  Statistics indicate rates of the disease have increased by up to 17 percent in recent years. [Read more…]