Two Congressional plans, one from each side of the political spectrum, are competing to blow up the current healthcare system. Here experts examine one of them—the left’s bid to replace private insurers with a government-run single-payer plan labeled “Medicare for All.” Alternatives may include bolstering the Affordable Care Act, or getting rid of it completely.
Dr. Paul Ginsburg, Director, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy
Deborah Burger, RN, President, National Nurses United
Dr. Ken Thorpe, Professor of Health Policy, Emory University
Lauren Crawford Shaver, Executive Director, Partnership for America’s Health Care Future
One of the most popular searches on Google is for symptoms and what they mean. It’s created a much more well informed patient population, but one that may panic at the least pain or discomfort. Two experts discuss how to think of symptoms and how to search for them.
Dr. Mark Eisenberg, Associate Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, co-author, Am I Dying: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms and What to Do Next
Dr. Christopher Kelly, Senior Clinical Fellow, Columbia University, co-author, Am I Dying: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms and What to Do Next
The average American eats three or four eggs a week, and that’s enough to raise your risk for heart attack and death by six to eight percent. Cholesterol is the reason according to a large new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It shows that each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol in your daily diet raises the risk of both heart disease and premature death by about 17 percent. One large egg has about 185 milligrams of cholesterol. However, since eggs have lots of other nutrients, researchers say not to cut them out of the diet, just eat them in moderation.
Common heartburn medications are being linked to kidney failure and chronic kidney disease. The medications are called proton pump inhibitors and are sold under brand names like Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix. A study in the journal Pharmacotherapy finds that PPIs increase the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 20 percent and quadruple the risk of kidney failure. People over 65 are at highest risk.
And finally, a large new study shows that your Apple watch might be able to detect an irregular heartbeat. The study presented to the American College of Cardiology shows that the watch can flag apparently healthy people who may have atrial fibrillation. Doctors say about a third of the people the watch indicated were in danger actually did have AFib when they later received EKG monitoring. Researchers admit using the watch of an AFib diagnosis is far from perfect.
Patients used to accept doctors’ orders without question. Today, more are asking questions and challenging their doctors’ opinions. However, even those who do it politely are likely to be labeled “difficult.” A doctor whose late wife nearly made a career of being a difficult patient discusses how patients can do it respectfully and fruitfully.
Dr. William Steinbach, Professor, Chief of Pediatrics & Infectious Diseases, Duke University
About a third of people with major depression aren’t helped by the usual treatments. But they have some hope now that the FDA has approved the first completely new kind of drug for depression in years. The drug is a nasal spray called esketamine and it works in hours rather than weeks. Psychiatrists say it’s a major advance, but it’ll have to be used with caution. The drug is derived from an old anesthetic that was known as the party drug “special k,” and comes with a black box safety warning.
Having a teenage child can be frustrating, but scientists think they’ve discovered the one parental skill that can help navigate conflict with teens. It’s the ability to regulate anger. A study in the journal Development and Psychopathology finds that parents who can’t diminish anger are more likely to resort to the use of harsh, punitive discipline, creating hostile conflict. Researchers say dads are worse than moms at regulating anger and are more likely to conclude their teen is intentionally being difficult. So they dish out harsher punishment.
And finally, fast food now accounts for 11 percent of the energy intake in the United States and a new study shows, to no one’s surprise, that fast food meals are getting bigger and saltier. The study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics finds that the average fast food entrée has grown by 100 calories since 1986, and the average fast food dessert by 200 calories. On any given day, more than a third of American adults eat fast food.
Knee replacements are successful for 80 percent of recipients, yet many assume the success rate should be higher. Those who are not successful often are bitterly disappointed. However, patients and physicians can take steps to avoid a bad result. New techniques also offer much faster recovery. Experts discuss.
Dr. Dan Riddle, Professor of Physical Therapy, Orthopedic Surgery and Rheumatology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Dr. James Rickert, President, Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics
Dr. Richard Berger, Assistant Professor of Orthopedics, Rush University