Pharmacists take on counseling role of primary-care doctors; doctors define frailty; “almost psychopaths” in daily lives are more dangerous than criminal psychopaths; retail health clinics become commonplace. These stories and more topping public health headlines today, Tuesday, June 26, 2012.
Wall Street Journal – The Pharmacist Is In and Nudging You to Take Your Pills
At a Walgreen’s drugstore in Chicago, James Wu, a pharmacist, steps out from behind the counter to sit at a desk. Customers can approach to ask questions about medication and even request counseling in a private area nearby. With primary-care doctors in short supply and often too busy to review medications, pharmacists are taking a more active role on the health-care team, going further than merely dispensing pills and sending out automated refill reminders. They are counseling patients face-to-face and on the phone, contacting patients who don’t refill prescriptions and checking for potential interactions between drugs prescribed by different doctors.
CBS – Know your BMI: Docs urged to screen for obesity
Body mass index signals if you’re overweight, obese or just right considering your height. Some doctors have begun calling it a vital sign, as crucial to monitor as blood pressure. But apparently not enough doctors check: A government panel renewed a call Monday for every adult to be screened for obesity during checkups, suggesting more physicians should be routinely calculating their patients’ BMIs. And when someone crosses the line into obesity, the doctor needs to do more than mention a diet. It’s time to refer those patients for intensive nutrition-and-fitness help, say the guidelines issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
NPR – The Making of Meat-Eating America
We eat a lot of meat in this country; per person, more than almost anywhere else on Earth. But why? What makes an American eat ten or twelve times more meat than the average person in Mozambique or Bangladesh? Reason #1: Dollars and cents.
Wall Street Journal – A Good Stretch or Warm-Up: What’s Best Before Exercise
To stretch or not to bother? That is the question athletes and weekend warriors ponder, as advice varies on the importance of stretching before a workout. It’s important to distinguish between stretching and warming up, says Lynn Millar, a professor of physical therapy at Winston-Therapy State University. A warm-up “is something designed to get the blood flowing and muscles ready for activity. Stretching can certainly be part of that,” she says. “I don’t know any coach who would say stretching alone is adequate preparation before activity.”
New York Times – A Firm Diagnosis of Frailty
Quick, define frailty. Infirmity? Disability? Weakness? Shakiness? For years, frailty was like pornography, says Dr. John W. Rowe, professor of health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University — it was hard to define, but you knew it when you saw it. For many people, even many doctors, frailty was a catchall description of the state of being old.
New York Times – Shades of Psychopathy and Ambition Run Amok
Here’s a medical riddle: When is just a touch of a disease worse than the full-blown thing? And here’s a hint: worse for whom? Suppose it’s not the sick person you’re worried about, but that individual’s friends, family, colleagues and clients? The authors of “Almost a Psychopath” suggest that people with just a few of the dangerous characteristics of a psychopath may take a greater toll on the community than those with the real diagnosis, only because the partly psychopathic are so much more pervasive and elusive.
Kaiser Health News – Retail Health Clinics Expanding
In recent years, walk-in health clinics have become commonplace in groceries and drugstores as well as at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. The clinics regularly treat acute problems such as strep throat and ear infections, but many are also adding primary care and preventive services such as physical exams and chronic disease monitoring.