Anyone who has covered medical research for a while knows how fraught it can be to report on vitamin supplements and “wonder” foods with antioxidants and other substances aside from FDA-regulated drugs.
Since the FDA does not regulate these products with the same guidelines and stringency as it does pharmaceuticals and medical devices, it can be harder to find solid data about them. Further, studies on them are frequently funded by supplement companies or food organizations with a vested interest in their effectiveness or benefits. In an additional complication, there’s a mythology surrounding vitamins that promotes two main ideas: the supplements almost always are beneficial, and even if they aren’t, can’t hurt anyway. Continue reading
A quarter of a million Americans are retiring each month. Many are surprised to learn that Medicare does not include coverage for routine dental care. But could the nation’s health insurance program offer dental benefits? Should it?
There are important reasons to consider the idea, says Beth Truett, president and CEO of the nonprofit Oral Health America.
“More people are living longer. More people are keeping their teeth,” said Truett, who was featured in a recent AHCJ webcast. “Oral health is part of overall health.” Continue reading
For three years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have penalized hospitals when the institutions show unacceptably high rates of potentially avoidable complications, such as blood clots, bed sores, and infections, Jordan Rau reported last month for Kaiser Health News.
The federal agency this year added penalties for two hospital-acquired infections that result from germs resistant to antibiotics: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Continue reading
Comedians Chevy Chase and Dick Van Dyke are famous for their pratfalls. Their younger selves could take a tumble and easily bounce back up, no harm done. But, at ages 73 and 91 respectively, falls are no laughing matter.
The consequences of a serious fall can be devastating – from broken bones to immobility to death. In November, iconic singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, 82, died from what his manager said were the aftereffects of a fall. Continue reading
The intersection of scientific research, evidence and expertise can be a dicey one, particularly in an age in which evidence-based medicine is replacing the clinical expertise of practitioners.
In The New York Times Sunday Review, Jamie Holmes wrote about how the challenge of assessing the quality of evidence against expertise and less stringently conducted research can lead readers to confusion and frustration. Continue reading