So, here we go again. Years ago, James Gandolfini died and everyone said - look at him, he was so heavy, he didn't take care of himself. And there was Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) - he wasn't in good shape, he was so big! Except he had given up meat two years earlier. Two guys with, one assumes, pretty good medical care, or at least access to pretty good medical care.
And now Alan Thicke, at 69, gone. Certainly that's not old enough. You look at him and say - hey, he's in pretty good shape, even playing hockey with his 19 year old son. Oh, that's what killed him - he shouldn't be playing hockey at his age! REALLY?? At what age does one crawl up into a ball and watch the world go by?
We think that medical care in this country has us covered. It doesn't. The standard tests yield not much better than a coin-flip when it comes to prediction. Did you know that a Nuclear Treadmill Stress Test, essentially what everyone banks on when it comes to knowing if you're going to have a heart attack, can only detect 14% of those going on to have one. And after all, you wouldn't mind if your mechanic got the source of your car's problem wrong 6 out of 7 times, right?
I have available a groundbreaking technology that saves lives - I've done it multiple times. It's not a new test, just one that flies in the face of the medical establishment in this country. Instead of identifying 1 in 7 people, I can identify at least 19 out of 20 - and you don't get sweaty, in fact it takes 7 1/2 minutes of lying still, without getting undressed. But insurance doesn't cover it, despite showing results comparable to the best invasive tests available.
I have not saved enough lives, despite my best efforts. 90+% of heart attacks are preventable - the program I employ (even without the above referenced test) has demonstrated this over several thousand people and 15 years. Even a recent article in the NY Times speaks to the opportunity people have by simply doing some of the right things.
But I'm guessing Alan Thicke was doing lots of the right things. And yet he's dead. So, besides kissing your spouse and kids, and telling them that you love them, what else can you do?
Do your research. Find a medical program that tells you the truth - about their capabilities, about your responsibilities, and do everything you can to learn what's going on in your body. That requires more than the usual medical approach. The standard approach defines risk, not disease. Know if you have the underlying conditions that lead to a heart attack and go on the offensive!
And if not, that's ok. Only 1 in 20 will have a heart attack this year, so the odds are in your favor.
I really liked that show....
Below is an extraordinary bit of news.
Hey - everyone knew mushrooms are good for you....
December 05, 2016
Psilocybin May Provide Swift Relief From Depression, Anxiety in Cancer Patient
Researchers found that the hallucinogenic drug relieves depression and anxiety quickly, and that the effect can last for months.
HealthDay News --
A single dose of psilocybin can quickly lifts the spirits of cancer patients, and the effect can last as long as 6 months, according to 2 studies published online Dec. 1 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
In one study, researchers led by Roland Griffiths, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, treated 51 adults with life-threatening cancer with a low dose of psilocybin followed 5 weeks later with a higher dose of the drug. Most patients experienced relief from their anxiety and depression that lasted up to 6 months, the researchers found.
In the second study, a team led by Stephen Ross, MD, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, randomly assigned 29 patients with advanced cancer to either a single dose of psilocybin or the vitamin niacin. Among 80% of the patients, psilocybin rapidly brought relief from distress. Moreover, the effect lasted for more than 6 months, based on test scores for anxiety and depression, the researchers found.
"Our results represent the strongest evidence to date of a clinical benefit from psilocybin therapy, with the potential to transform care for patients with cancer-related psychological distress," Ross said in a Langone news release. "If larger clinical trials prove successful, then we could ultimately have available a safe, effective, and inexpensive medication dispensed under strict control to alleviate the distress that increases suicide rates among cancer patients."
1. Griffiths RR, Johnson MW, Carducci MA, et al. Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxietey in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial. J Psychopharmacol. 2016;30(12):1181-1197. doi:10.1177/0269881116675513.
2. Ross S, Bossis A, Guss J, et al. Rapid and sustained symptom reduction follwoing psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial. J Psychopharmacol. 2016;30(12):1165-1180. doi:10.1177/0269881116675512.
3. Nutt D. Psilocybin for anxiety and depression in cancer care? Lessons from the past and prospects for the future. J Psychopharmacol. 2016;30(12):1163-1164. doi:10.1177/0269881116675754.
Sure, you can go to the gym, but it's summer and you should be outside! You need the Vitamin D! Don't know what do? Think you need special equipment for all sorts of crazy sports? No - just a solid pair of sneakers or cross training shoes - and hit the trail!
There's a jewel near the Nassau/Suffolk line in Cold Spring Harbor (http://nysparks.com/parks/115/maps.aspx). At the head of the Greenbelt that runs from the Long Island Sound, across the Island down to the Ocean, lies a very challenging hiking trail that could just be the perfect workout. If you look at the trail map (http://nysparks.com/parks/attachments/ColdSpringHarborTrailMap.pdf) you'll see all of the topography changes - a built in interval program! There's close to 1000 vertical feet of climbing in about 2 miles, and you're in the woods. Yeah, it gets steep, so if you aren't very stable or not in any kind of shape, you better go slow, and you probably want to bring a walking stick or two. If you are in shape, you can go faster and find plenty of challenge. Depending on my intensity, I've done it anywhere from 34 minutes (I think - not sure, but it was a killer at that speed) up to one hour with the kids.
I urge you to check it out - there's parking right there, but if it's a nice day and you go early, it'll be crowded. Still - you will know that you worked out, regardless of how hard you go!
Some years back I largely left the insurance realm. I've attached an article that describes how an MD sometimes "pulls rank" in order to ensure appropriate treatment. Unfortunately, the majority of the population is actually taken advantage of by the system. All pretty sad. The system needs revision,...or complete overhaul!!
Urgent Care facilities are now everywhere! Some people see that as a good thing. I see it as a fundamental failure of what health care is supposed to be.
I think you should have a doctor - one that knows you, your "stuff" and is working to assist you in staying healthy. That's a lot to ask from a primary care doctor today. The system makes them rush, pile people in, one after another, with very little time to think. And many people tell me they never even see their primary care doctor - it's always the nurse practitioner or PA. And then it might be weeks to get in for an appointment.
There's the big reason for the growth of Urgent Care - filling the unmet need. The need created by the system. The US system developed organically - it was not designed. As such, it was not designed to function, and therefore frequently does not. If you expect assistance in your time of urgent (not emergent) need, most frequently your primary care office would not be the right stop.
Don't get me wrong - if you have an emergency situation, the US system works pretty well. Few people die unnecessarily in the ER (the hospital, of course, is a different story for a different day), and virtually all are far better for having gone. But urgent care could generally be handled by the PCP, if they had time. The system no longer allows for that time.
I have designed my program to be different. First, the goal is to keep you far away from urgent and emergent services. We do that by getting ahead of the game - something that takes both your time and mine. By it's very definition, you are making an investment in your future. From the testing I do that gives you a window on your future, not just a snapshot of your past, to the time we spend detailing your options, the My Personal Doc experience is different. Call me to review your opportunities.
Not to mention that it could just save your life.
Bruce L. Feldman, MD
Dr Bruce is an advocate for health. You need to be your own health advocate. His blog offers his opinions and insights on numerous topics he believes might be of interest. Hope you agree!