By Lee Landenberger
There's too much to read, so we've monitored the weekend's notable stories in medicine and healthcare for you. Here are a few we thought worth your valuable time.
Every five years, HHS and the USDA revise and make official their views on the diets they feel are best for Americans to follow. The newest guidelines, which came out Saturday, include the relatively standard belief that fruits and vegetables are always good for you, whether it's time for a new guideline or not.
But the focus has shifted somewhat from looking at diet through the lens of specific foods and not through the traditional nutrition lens. The report also includes more of the usual warnings about overconsumption of sugar as well as a new focus on the link between the proper diet and mental health. Then there’s the recurring image of a panel that just keeps changing its mind every once in a while.
"The public are confused by ever-changing health recommendations from ‘official’ bodies. At least these guidelines appear more rational and evidence-based,” says Stephen Brunton, MD, FAAFP, Physician Editor of Internal Medicine Alert. “Now it is incumbent upon us to interpret this and counsel our patients how they can optimize their health by incorporating appropriate nutrition and exercise into their lifestyles"
Psilocybin is once again in the medical headlines, as it occasionally finds itself. This time its potential use is in helping cancer patients face their disease in a way that's more productive than simple, gut-gripping terror. Salon's Curing the Fear of Death has the highs and the bummers, including being extremely careful about who participates in the grand experiment: "So caution is reasonably advised. But what the research demonstrates is nonetheless remarkable: the way the experience seems to shake something loose in participants’ consciousness, something that lets them see beyond the dull gray of routine, or the grimness of cancer, to the joy in being with loved ones, the sensory pleasure of a good meal, or the astounding pink visuals of the sunset." Here's the complete story.
There's a bright side to Parkinson's Disease? The New York Times posted a Sunday op-ed by a Parkinson's sufferer who thinks current research holds promise. "Can Parkinson’s be slowed, stopped or even reversed? Can the disease be prevented before it starts, like polio and smallpox? More than at any time in history, success seems possible," the author contends. Here's the full piece.
Dr. John Willke, an obstetrician who played a large part in the abortion battles of the past several decades, has died. The Guardian has his obituary and some perspective. He had a large role in a topic whose controversy seems to have no end. You can read the obit here.
Lee Landenberger is AHC Media's Editorial & Continuing Education Director.