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The Secret to Keeping Black Men Healthy? Maybe Black Doctors

The black doctors often left more personal notes, like “needs food, shelter, clothing, job, ‘flu shot makes you sick,’ he got one.” And “subject yelled at me but then agreed to get flu shot because I recommended it.” And “made patient laugh.”

Black men who saw white doctors wrote comments like, “It was a great and fast experience, doctor was great as well.” And “very informative, very appreciated.”

Those who saw black doctors wrote comments like, “The entire day made me feel very comfortable and relaxed” and “cool doctor” — comments that described an emotional response.

Bridging this racial divide is a fraught matter, noted Dr. Skinner.

“It doesn’t seem so controversial if a woman requests a woman physician,” he said. “If a black patient asks for a black doctor, it’s understandable, especially given this study. But what if a white patient asks for a white doctor?”

A white doctor in this study, who asked that his name be withheld because he has black patients, said he felt his interactions with those who came to the clinic were “normal, comfortable health care visits.” Still, he was not surprised to hear the study’s results.

“Anyone going to see a doctor will be nervous,” he said. “If you face discrimination regularly in life, you will go into a clinic with even more apprehensions. If you see a physician who is African-American, you will feel some relief.”

One of the black doctors who participated in the study, Dr. ChaRandle Jordan, noted that low-income black patients in Oakland tend to be guarded in the doctor’s office.

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Tension Over Teen Tattoos: 1/2 of Parents Concerned About Negative Health Effects, Impact on Employment

Newswise — ANN ARBOR, Mich. —  Seventy-eight percent of parents in a national poll had a clear answer when asked how they would react if their own teen wanted a tattoo: absolutely not.

However, another 1 in 10 parents thought a tattoo would be OK as a reward, to mark a special occasion or if the tattoo could be hidden.

And many parents have already faced these types of conversations, with a quarter saying their teen has asked about a tattoo, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan.

Topping the list of parental concerns about tattoos: impact on health, social acceptance and their child’s professional career.

Roughly half of parents said they were very concerned about negative health effects, such as infection, scarring or transmission of diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV, through unsanitary needles.

Half of parents were also very concerned that employers might judge or stereotype their teen unfavorably if he or she had a tattoo, while 24 percent were very concerned that a tattoo would reflect badly on the parents themselves. The most common concern (among 68 percent of parents): future regret.

“As tattoos become increasingly popular across all age groups, more parents are navigating discussions about tattoos with their children,” says poll co-director and Mott pediatrician Gary Freed, M.D. M.P.H.

“Many parents agree that tattoos are a form of self-expression but worry that teens may not consider potential health risks, how a tattoo may impact them professionally or the chance that as they age and mature, they may regret getting a permanent tattoo.”

The nationally representative report, which is based on responses from 1,018 parents with at least one child ages 13-18, suggests a substantial number of parents have already addressed the subject of tattoos. Twenty-seven percent of parents of teens ages 16-18, and 11 percent of parents of teens ages 13-15, said their teen had asked them for permission to get a tattoo. Five percent of parents indicated their teen had already gotten a tattoo, and 32 percent of parents had a tattoo themselves.

Two-thirds of parents (63 percent) also said they considered tattoos a form of self-expression similar to dying hair or clothing choice. However, parents polled strongly supported state laws requiring parental consent for tattoos for children under 18 years old.

A 2017 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested tattoos and piercings among young people are becoming more mainstream and that pediatricians need to be prepared to discuss potential health risks with adolescents. The report cited a Pew Research Center study that said about 38 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 have at least one tattoo.

“In addition to doing their own research and having conversations at home, parents may encourage their teens to talk to their doctor if they ask for a tattoo,” Freed says.

“While medical complications aren’t common, it’s important for young people to understand and consider all potential risks associated with body modifications like tattoos.”




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US health secretary says agency has power to eliminate drug rebates

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn discusses why he is urging Cigna shareholders to reject a proposed merger with Express Scripts and how drug prices are a major problem in the

One of the greatest problems in US is drug prices: Carl Icahn

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn discusses why he is urging Cigna shareholders to reject a proposed merger with Express Scripts and how drug prices are a major problem in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said it was within his agency’s power to eliminate rebates on prescription drug purchases, a key element of the Trump administration’s plan to lower prescription medicine costs.

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Such rebates are negotiated in the United States by pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) to lower the cost of medicines for their clients, including large employers and health plans that cover tens of millions of Americans.

Drugmakers say they are under pressure to provide rebates to the few PBMs that dominate the market and that those payers do not pass on enough of those savings to patients – a contention the PBMs dispute. The drugmakers say the rebates force them to raise the price of their therapies over time to preserve their business.

The Trump administration has been receptive to that argument. Azar, in an interview with Reuters on Friday, said rebates created a perverse incentive to continuously raise drug prices.

Azar, a former top executive at drugmaker Eli Lilly Co, is trying to deliver on President Donald Trump’s promises to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Americans, which Trump made a major priority during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Department of Health and Human Services last month proposed regulations that would scale back protections for rebates that might otherwise be illegal under a federal anti-kickback law.

The PBM industry has challenged that move, saying HHS cannot eliminate rebates on its own and would need Congress to change the federal statute. The ultimate responsibility for high drug prices, those companies say, lies with the manufacturers who set those prices.

Azar contends that the current rebates are a product of previous HHS regulation. “What one has created by regulation, one could address by regulation,” he added.

He did not say when such new regulations, which are being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget, might take effect. “The question of rebates may very well be fundamental to the issue of how you reverse these constant incentives to higher list prices (for medicines).”


The cost of healthcare, and prescription drugs specifically, is expected to be a major campaign issue ahead of November elections, in which Democrats are seeking to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate from Trump’s Republicans.

In May, Trump unveiled a “blueprint” comprising dozens of proposed policies to give the government greater leverage over drug prices, but did not support changes to give the federal government’s Medicare health plan for seniors direct negotiating power with drugmakers. Critics say that has spared the pharmaceutical industry any real challenge to its pricing practices.

Azar defended the administration’s actions, noting that more than a dozen leading drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc, Merck Co and Celgene Corp, had pledged to hold off on further price increases this year.

“They are seeing where this is going, they are seeing that we are ticking off the blueprint items one by one,” Azar said. “We are not dependent on the voluntary action of pharmaceutical companies. We are not counting on their goodwill or their altruism. … They’re just changing because they see that’s the future.”

Critics say the drug price pledges by major drugmakers are largely window dressing.

Since May, HHS has given Medicare Advantage health plans, which are administered by private-sector health insurers, new tools to lower prescription drug costs.

The agency’s Food and Drug Administration has unveiled a plan to boost the use of biosimilars, which are cheaper versions of expensive biotech medicines. Azar has directed the FDA to establish a working group to study how to import drugs safely from other countries if a drugmaker dramatically raises prices.

The actions have already sparked concerns. Last week, a leading group of rheumatologists met with Azar to discuss changes to Medicare Advantage that could force some patients to try a less effective, cheaper medication for a period of time before their health plan would cover a more expensive therapy.

HHS said Azar emphasized the agency’s interest in lowering drug prices but expressed openness to alleviating burdens that could be placed on physicians as a result of the new rule.

Azar said he spoke with Trump every few days, either in person or over the phone and that in every conversation, the president wanted to hear about progress on lowering prescription medicine costs.

“I have never once had a meeting or phone call with the president where we have not talked about drug pricing,” Azar said.

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Peter Cooney)

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Is peanut butter a possible cure for insomnia?

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Your Good Health: Weakness on one side sounds like a stroke

Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 84-year-old woman, and have always been a good walker. Three months ago, I fell down and could not get up from the floor. I was not in pain, but I could not move my right leg. I went by ambulance to the hospital, where X-rays and many other tests were done. It took me 32 days in rehab before I could walk again and was released.

All the doctors and nurses said that I did not have a stroke, but they did say that I have weak muscles on the right side of my body. Could you please tell me what “weakened muscles” means? What can I do to prevent another fall?


The sudden onset of weakness on one side of the body sounds very much like a stroke to me. There are very few other possibilities I can think of.

There are many causes of weakened muscles. One of the most common in the elderly is a deficiency in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for the elderly with a low level, because weakness is so frequent a symptom.

However, the weakness should be symmetrical. Other systemic causes, such as neuropathies or degenerative neurological diseases, also are almost always symmetric. So I don’t understand why you have weakness on only one side if the hospital personnel are sure that you did not have a stroke. Sometimes, a stroke can be very subtle; however, a stroke that affects an entire side of the body should show up on an MRI scan.

Regular exercise, preferably supervised by a physical therapist, can be helpful in preventing falls. A visit from a home nurse to evaluate the safety of your home can help prevent another episode. Finally, having a device that allows you to call for help even if you can’t reach the phone can be life-saving. I recommended one for any person who has had a fall from which they could not rise.

Dear Dr. Roach: My precious 80-year-old husband recently died very suddenly. The doctor said he died of a type of heart failure called “broken heart syndrome.” What is this? Was there some care he did not receive? Was his heart fractured in some way? Could his death have been prevented? I am devastated.


I am very sorry to hear about your husband. What usually is meant by “broken heart syndrome” is called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. It looks very much like a heart attack, but it occurs in the setting of severe emotional or physical stress. It is much more common in women than in men. Is not due to blockages in the arteries of the heart, as a regular heart attack is, but rather is a form of sudden heart failure. Death

is uncommon from Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (only about four per cent). The cause is unknown.

It also is possible to have a rupture of the wall of the heart. This can happen as a result of a conventional heart attack, but it also can happen in people with very severe heart failure, in which the heart muscle is stretched and thinned. I doubt this was the cause in your husband, as he most likely would have been very ill for a long time prior.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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Vitamin D is vital to good health: With winter coming, it’s time to start supplementing your diet – Fairbanks Daily News

News-Miner opinion: Darkness is quickly returning to Interior Alaska. And because of Fairbanks’ high latitude, the suns rays lose their potency at this time of year; August is typically when the amount of vitamin D in a person’s blood stream begins to decline. This is because vitamin D is synthesized in your skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. 

Vitamin D is essential to good health, which is why it behooves Alaskans to make sure they are getting vitamin D through their diets. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so vitamin D deficiency can lead to brittle bones and diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets.

Recent scientific research is yielding more information about vitamin D’s health benefits. Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease and a weakened immune system.

Vitamin D3 supplements can be taken to maintain healthy bones and teeth, although there is no conclusive evidence to show these supplements can replicate the full range of health benefits that naturally synthesized vitamin D has. The National Institutes of Health recommends infants take 400 IU of vitamin D and adults older than 71 take 800 IU. Other people should take 600 IU daily.

However, you don’t have to rely wholly on vitamin D gummies to avoid a deficiency. Vitamin D is found in marine mammals and fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. Other foods, such as shitake mushrooms and eggs, have it too. Vitamin D fortified milks and cereal are also available.

 And, of course, a vacation to some sunny clime, such as Hawaii or California, can always help too.

Now is the time to start supplementing your diet with vitamin D. Your good health depends on it.

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A New Way Selfies Make You Hate Yourself

Have you ever used a filter on a Snapchat or Instagram selfie? You know, the ones that make you look like a cute little puppy, a flower-crowned princess, or a gorgeous, clear-skinned bombshell? Have you ever thought to yourself, “If only I could look this way in real life…” and let out a long, heavy sigh? You might be surprised to hear that this kind of thinking is becoming more and more common. In fact, it’s even leading people to seek out plastic surgery. Our selfies are making us increasingly unhappy with the way we look.

It’s called Snapchat Dysmorphia, and it’s no joke.

There has been a huge increase in the number of people requesting surgical intervention in order to look more like they do when they use a Snapchat filter. The rise of these ‘flawless’ social media filters, is warping our standards of beauty. We are striving to achieve a look that is utterly unrealistic in day-to-day life, and it’s making us sick.

According to recent statistics from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 55 percent of facial plastic surgeons reported seeing patients who wanted to improve how they looked in selfies in 2017, which is a 13 percent increase from 2016.

And it is only getting worse.

The more we are confronted with our own image, thanks to dating apps, social media, and technology in general, the more we are going to obsess about how we look.

How to Take Back Your Selfie Control

It’s really not worth going under the knife and getting your face altered to look better—especially if it’s just for a selfie. If you find yourself nitpicking certain elements of your face, skin, or complexion, try these more wholesome tactics instead.

Sincere smile.

Stop taking selfies all the time.

It’s just not healthy to see yourself that much. At no time in human history have we ever been bombarded with our own reflection as much as we are right now, and it is hurting our mental wellness. Plus, studies have shown that constantly taking selfies takes you out of the moment and actually changes how you remember precious memories.

We’re actually more likely to remember them from a third-person perspective, rather than first-person. According to Vox, “77 percent of Americans now own smartphones, and many rely on them for memory support.”

Memory requires a span of attention, which smartphones notoriously soak up. The selfie begins to function as the external memory, but your brain gets disoriented when it sees a picture of yourself inside a memory that it has stored.

Seek out help.

According to research on social media selfies published in JAMA, body dysmorphia is on the spectrum of obsessive compulsive disorders. If your perceived flaws are constantly nagging at you and fostering insecurity, you should absolutely seek out the support of a therapist before even considering plastic surgery.

Body dysmorphic disorders can lead to serious depression and the development of potentially life-threatening eating disorders. And, at the very least, they can make every photograph and every stroll past a reflective surface a moment of living hell.

Find some support to get relief from the self-loathing and self-deprecation and learn to be nicer to yourself. You deserve it.

Know that you are beautiful.

Seriously. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL exactly as you are. You are real. You are authentic. You are natural. Embrace your awesome self.

Beauty is 95 percent confidence, so stop being afraid to be you and just allow yourself to live within your own skin. You’ll be astounded at what a difference it makes in your self-perception and the perception of others, no plastic surgery required.

And above all else, remember that selfie filters are DISTORTIONS of reality. Even if you don’t use filters, you’re looking at a mirror image of yourself, which is unrealistic and a little off-looking to begin with.

Related on Care2

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VIDEO: Quality of life measures take healthy living ‘beyond HbA1c’

BALTIMORE — In this video exclusive, Endocrine Today Diabetes in Real Life columnist Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, FAADE, talks with Paul Madden, MEd, managing director of diabetes, science and medicine for the American Diabetes Association, about measures of success for diabetes interventions “beyond HbA1c.”

“Everybody knows there’s so much more to a life with diabetes than your average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months,” Madden told Endocrine Today. Instead, quality of life issues, such as mental health and productivity measures, must be considered when assessing a healthy life with diabetes, he said. The American Diabetes Association is partnering with mental health and social worker organizations to ensure those professionals have an understanding of diabetes.

Watch the video for more.

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A Harvard doctor says it’s harder than ever to lose weight right now — but there are 5 ways to do it well

Nutritionists agree that it is getting harder and harder for people to maintain a healthy weight — and that’s not all your fault.

“There is so much great-tasting food, and it’s abundant and in your face all the time,” Dr. Meir Stampfer, an epidemiologist and nutrition expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in a recent blog post. “To me it’s kind of a miracle that people aren’t even heavier than they are.”

Stampfer, who has pioneered many long-term top-notch health studies, said the easiest way to get people to lose weight is to simply limit how much they eat every day.

“But for free-living people that’s really hard,” he said.

Average portions in the US have ballooned as much as 138% over the past five decades, and sugar is hiding in everything we eat, from salads to plain bagels and almost every low-fat product out there.

Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutrition researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, sees the issue in a similar way.

“There’s absolutely nothing more important for our health than what we eat each and every day,” she recently told Business Insider.

Here are some of the best tips for how to slim down for the long term, from Stampfer and Seidelmann:

Hearty enough for a main dish or served as a side, this bean salad is packed with fiber, protein, and other plant-based nutrients.

Larry Crowe/AP

Healthy eating isn’t necessarily low-carb

Seidelmann recently published a study involving more than 447,000 people around the world. The results revealed that people who eat too many or too few carbs don’t live as long as those in the middle who eat a moderate amount.

Her team’s data suggests people should focus on putting whole, healthful foods on their plate, like vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans.

Even though some veggies and beans might be considered “high-carb,” eating them is associated with a longer life than low-carb diets that push people to eat large quantities of meat and animal products.

Focus on choosing healthy fats

“Eating fat doesn’t make you fat,” Stampfer said. That sound advice has been backed up by study after study after study.

“Eating healthy fats helps people control their weight better than diets than exclude them,” he added.

Fatty foods have more energy gram per gram than carbs or proteins, and they can also help keep you full and satisfied until your next meal.

Some of the best plant-based sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocados, walnuts, and chia seeds. Even oatmeal has a potent dose of fat, making it a great way to fuel up in the morning.

Eat ‘just a little bit’ less

Although incorporating movement into your day can yield immense benefits for your brain and body, nutritionists agree that the most surefire way to control your weight is to properly gauge (and perhaps reduce) how much food you’re putting in your mouth.

Eating less and forgoing food for an occasional fast may even help you live longer, studies suggest. Some Silicon Valley biohackers have even decided to skip one meal a day, a version of the “intermittent fasting” craze that eliminates about a third of a day’s calories.

But we’re not suggesting anyone has to starve themselves. Just remember that a standard serving of whole-grain bread is one slice, a slice of meat should fit in an imaginary checkbook, and your cut of cheese should be about the size of four dice.

As Stampfer put it, “adopt a healthy diet, and eat just a little bit less.”

Don’t discount strength training

Your brain and your heart are some of the biggest calorie-burning machines in your resting body. But muscles can help keep your metabolism going all day, which means that incorporating some strength training into your routine can be a great way to maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits don’t end there.

“Muscle building can not only bring up your body’s metabolic rate, but also brings its own distinct health benefits that are often not as well appreciated as those associated with aerobic activity,” Stampfer said.

Those benefits include improving mental health, fighting off depression, and even reversing some of the physical effects of aging. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests regular strength training two or three times per week.

You don’t need a wide or colorful variety of foods — just find the healthy ones you like

Many principles of healthy eating that you might have learned as a kid are being debunked.

One such idea is that everyone should try to eat a varied, colorful “pyramid” of foods. Instead, the American Heart Association now suggests focusing on getting enough plants, protein, and healthy fats like nuts into your diet and not worrying as much about a diverse diet.

Recent studies suggest that people with the most varied, colorful diets also tend to eat more food of all kinds, including processed foods. That can wind up meaning they have less healthy, whole foods on their plates and bigger waistlines as a result.

“It’s O.K. if your diet is not very diverse if you’re focusing on healthy foods and trying to minimize consumption of unhealthy foods,” University of Texas epidemiologist Marcia Otto recently told the New York Times.

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