Physical Health

What the Doctor Ordered: Friendships

We all know that there are several lifestyle and environmental risk factors for early mortality, including obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and smoking. However, we often forget a far less researched and talked about risk factor for mortality: loneliness and social isolation. Often that loneliness and social isolation are heightened during the holidays, which, ironically, is a time meant to be enjoyed with family and friends. However, for many it is a time that can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and a desire to withdraw. The holidays, therefore, present an excellent time to discuss the role we can all play in reinforcing connections in a world that, on the surface at least, is more connected than it has ever been due to…

Read More

The Relationship: Medicine Is Both Art and Science

The Question: Questioning the value of the annual physical exam for “healthy,” or asymptomatic, adults is nothing new, but the issue assumes greater significance in the current era of limited resources and the growing status of evidence-based care. Last month, The New England Journal of Medicine’s “Perspective” was devoted to the pros and cons of eliminating this time-honored, but poorly evidenced, practice. Before discussing these pieces, it seems only fair to tip my hand and admit I am (empirically, subjectively, limbicly) in favor of the annual check in with one’s PCP – whether one “needs” it, or not. The authors of both articles agree that the lack of standardization in the annual exam makes the epidemiological research weaker, i.e., lack…

Read More

Thinking Out of the Mailbox: A New Model for Health Care Delivery?

  When it comes to solving health care delivery problems, who would think of the postal service as a potential source of solutions? Yet, a pilot program in Jersey, an island between France and England, has shown that this entrenched institution offered a creative way to provide care to a group of people who are among the most difficult to reach – the frail elderly. Although the pilot didn’t seek to provide a substitute for health and social care professionals, this group did exhibit some territorial defensiveness, with little active participation by incumbent providers. From 2010 to 2040, the number of islanders over 65 in Jersey is predicted to double. However, Jersey’s health system suffers from outdated models of health…

Read More

To Run or Not to Run: That Is NOT the Question

Exercise benefits both our mind and our body. I have been a runner for 20 years, running in everything from 5Ks to marathons. I have run in races all over the world. It is common for the uninitiated to ask a simple question. Why? What is it that motivates me to get out of bed at “0-dark thirty” – as one of my running partners calls it – to put on my running shoes and propel my body? What evidence could be compelling enough to convince even the most sedentary among us to give exercise a try? Exercise’s health benefits are well documented, particularly regarding cardiovascular health. What is less well known, however, are the cognitive benefits, especially as we…

Read More