Surveys show that fewer Americans have a primary care doctor, especially among younger people. Experts discuss the ramifications of this trend both medically and economically, reasons behind it, and how primary care practitioners are changing the way they work to answer objections.
Dr. Ana Maria Lopez, President, American College of Physicians
Dr. John Cullen, President, American Academy of Family Physicians
Folate, or vitamin b-9, is an essential nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Folic acid is often added to bread, flour, cereal, and pasta to help eliminate deficiencies. Now new research shows supplementation is more important than we thought, because once somebody is short on folate, the damage can’t be fixed. The study in the journal PNAS shows that folate deficiency triggers errors in chromosomes that are passed on as the cell divides. Once those changes occur, they’re permanent.
If you’ve ever fibbed to your doctor, you’re not alone. In fact, a study in the journal JAMA Network Open finds that between 60 and 80 percent of people are less than forthcoming to their doctors about things that could affect their health. People apparently want to avoid being judged or lectured by doctors… or sometimes, they’re simply too embarrassed to tell the truth.
Various forms of dementia are increasing… and now scientists have found that a single specific mutation in one gene can cause one of them. “Frontotemporal dementia” accounts for about 20 percent of all early-onset forms of the disease…. which can affect people as young as their 40’s. A study in the journal Translational Psychiatry has tracked down a single mutation as the cause… and researchers say the finding could be important for both treatment and in research on Alzheimer’s disease.
And finally… a new study shows that forcing kids to apologize usually backfires. The study in the journal Merrill-Palmer Quarterly finds that children who receive an insincere apology dislike the apologizing kid even more than they did before. Transgressors feel worse, too… and don’t learn to have empathy for their victim.
Epilepsy affects 3.5 million Americans, yet stigma prevents many from speaking out, which in turn prolongs the stigma. An award-winning writer who has epilepsy describes the discrimination faced by people with seizure disorders and dispels the many myths many people hold about them.
More than 31 million people are injured and require hospital care each year… and a new study has figured out that non-fatal injuries cost nearly two trillion dollars annually. Medical costs account for only about 170 billion of it… while permanent disability costs more than 200 billion. The biggest cost is in the loss of quality of life as a result of injuries–researchers put that total at nearly one and a half trillion dollars a year. Falls, being struck by an object, and car crashes account for about half the injuries…and experts say they’re almost all preventable.
About three million children are diagnosed with scoliosis or back curvature every year, and now researchers have found a possible cause. A study in the journal Nature Communications shows that children with severe scoliosis are twice as likely as children without the disease to carry a gene that makes it hard for their bodies to process manganese in the diet. Scientists say modifications in the diet may help, but they caution against manganese supplements for now, because too much manganese is also dangerous.
If you thought volunteering to help out a co-worker is a good thing… think again. A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology shows that it’s better to wait to be asked before you help. Scientists say helpers who jump in without being asked often don’t have a good handle on what they’re doing, so they don’t get much gratitude for it… and the person being helped starts feeling incompetent. Better to stick to your own business, researchers say… until you’re asked.
And finally… what kind of person swears the most? According to a study in the journal Language Sciences, it’s people who are highly intelligent. Researchers say people with a large vocabulary and who are fluent in language are good at creative swearing… and they’re not afraid to use it. Scientists also say people who swear a lot are honest with others… and more true to themselves.
Thanks in part to its Biblical past, the disfiguring disease leprosy carries more stigma than most diseases. We hear little about it today, but it still exists, and because it’s now treatable, often the stigma is worse than the disease. An expert discusses.
Dr. David Scollard, Director, National Hansen’s Disease Program
Surveys show that hospital gowns are one of the things that most makes a hospital stay unpleasant. Finally hospitals may be moving to get rid of the old style gowns toward a less revealing, more dignified design that is still functional for healthcare workers. Experts discuss.
Chat Razdan, co-founder and CEO, Care+Wear garment maker
Dr. Deborah Mullen, Associate Professor of Health Care Administration, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and consultant, Health Partners-Park Nicollet Health System