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Piedmont Columbus Regional offers health tips for American Healthy Heart Month

COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) – Dayton Preston, Wellness Program Coordinator, with Piedmont Columbus Regional offers heart health tips.

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Wellness For The Family: Heart Happy Health Tips

It’s never too late or early in life to make heart health a priority.

Beyond nutrition and exercise, Registered Dietitian Grace Derocha, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, has other steps you can take to keep your heart happy.

“We are talking about health and nutrition, and all of these things that we have to do, when there are so many other things that can keep our heart happy, like our families,” she says.

With that in mind, Derocha has a list of things that can make your heart happy:

The power of no

“(This) is something that can let us take a step back, take a deep breath, manage some stress, and do the things that we actually really love to do,” Derocha says. “And sometimes focusing on that can really be a good thing for stress reduction, managing our health and lowering our blood pressure. And all of those things keep us happy and healthy.”

Focusing on your well-being and mental health

“Things like journaling, remembering to be grateful, taking the time to write a thank you card,” Derocha says. “Music is also a great one. We were talking about these (Himalayan Salt Lamps) earlier, I’m not sure about the health benefits, but I do know that the orangey glow when you plug these in makes the room feel warm, relaxing, there’s something about it.”

A little bit of wine

“Up here in Northern Michigan, we love our wine, and having wine in moderation is also actually something that is good for your heart health,” Derocha says.


“Whether that be yoga, or anaerobic or aerobic activity as we’ve talked about,” Derocha says.


“Reading books instead of being in front of the screen all of the time,” Derocha says. “The diffuser with essential oils—smells from oils, or really taking the time to enjoy a meal and food and find some really heart happy love in that. Bake something that spreads the love in scent and in taste.”

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Missouri Foundation for Health and KFF Announce New Long-term Partnership, Establish Kaiser Health News Midwest Bureau in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) and KFF (the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation) have entered into a new long-term partnership to establish a KHN (Kaiser Health News) Midwest Bureau, based in St. Louis, Missouri.  KFF – the trusted source of health policy information – produces health policy analysis, polling, and journalism, and KHN is its national health and health policy newsroom, producing in-depth news coverage of health care policy and politics. An editorially independent program of KFF, KHN’s more than 50 journalists are mostly based in KFF’s Washington, D.C. offices or in California.

With support from MFH, KHN will expand its editorial staff and build a team of journalists based in St. Louis who, working with freelancers, will produce coverage throughout the region. The goal is to bring the same high-quality health and health policy journalism that KHN produces nationally to the region and to bring important stories from the Midwest Bureau to the nation.  As with all its journalism, KHN stories produced from the Midwest Bureau will be made freely available for publication by media outlets throughout the region and the country and will be published on and distributed through KHN’s social media platforms.

“This partnership continues and expands Missouri Foundation for Health’s commitment to health journalism,” said Robert Hughes, president and CEO of Missouri Foundation for Health. “This exciting new venture will provide the local health journalism Missourians need to understand and navigate the changing landscape of health, the health industry, and health politics. I’m looking forward to seeing more stories reported out of the Midwest Bureau receive the national attention they deserve.”

“We are thrilled that Missouri Foundation for Health is making it possible for us to bring KHN to the Midwest and to create a new engine for health journalism based in St. Louis,” said KFF president and CEO Drew Altman, who is also KHN’s founding publisher. “Next we hope to expand in other important regions such as the South and the Mountain states,” Altman added.

“The ongoing crisis in local journalism’s business model has left many communities with few or no trusted sources of news about a wide range of issues, including health,” said KFF vice president and executive director of Media and Technology, David Rousseau, KHN’s Publisher. “We are excited to be working with Missouri Foundation for Health to extend the KHN model of nonprofit journalism to the Midwest and are confident that both the region and the nation will benefit from this increased coverage.”

Media organizations interested in working with KHN should contact KHN at and those interested in joining our efforts to expand and improve health journalism in the Midwest and beyond should contact KFF at  Employment opportunities for the Midwest Bureau will be posted soon at

For more on the partners, visit Missouri Foundation for Health at, Kaiser Family Foundation at, and Kaiser Health News at


Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding. To learn more please visit

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Medical wasteland – Health news – Health – February 14, 2019


Dr. Linda Lewis often cringes when she sees health news on the internet. She, like anyone else with a smartphone or computer, encounters a barrage of articles with click-enticing headlines about breakthroughs in research and cutting-edge treatments.

Even after reading to the bottom, she said, “I often wonder, What’s the rest of the story?

She knows to be skeptical. Lewis is a medical professional—epidemiologist for the Butte County Department of Public Health and faculty member in the Health and Community Services Department at Chico State. She studies and tracks how diseases spread; scientific studies are her mental lifeblood.

Most readers lack her training. So, when a report misstates or oversimplifies findings, how many know the difference? Or, know to detect a discrepancy? When the report gets tweeted and retweeted, shared and reshared, blogged about and reposted, misinformation magnifies.

“Fifteen years ago, and before Web 2.0, this information was blurry and difficult to start with,” said Stephen Caldes, a Chico State journalism professor who teaches online media literacy. “Digital media, and social media specifically, has probably made this even more of a cluster.”

The extent to which internet distribution clouds health information got some quantification last week with the release of—shock!—a study that got covered in articles online.

Health Feedback, a group of international scientists who assess the credibility of health coverage from major media organizations, reviewed for accuracy the articles from last year that most engaged people on social media; that is, drew high totals of likes, shares and comments.

Among the top 10, only three proved highly credible. Four had scientific accuracy but misleading elements, and the remaining three had major inaccuracies. Extended to the top 100, the scientists determined 45 percent to be highly credible and 35 percent highly inaccurate.

Health Feedback conducted the study—titled “The Most Popular Health Articles of 2018, a Scientific Credibility Review,” out Feb. 4—in collaboration with an interdisciplinary media literacy group, the Credibility Coalition. They focused on articles about health and wellness as opposed to policy and politics.

Their findings surprised neither Lewis nor Caldes. Both pointed to sensational headlines and head-spinning research results, sometimes in direct contradiction to previous reports. The No. 1 social media story last year had as its headline “Federal Study Finds Marijuana 100X Less Toxic Than Alcohol, Safer Than Tobacco”—courtesy of (now apparently defunct). The review found this article highly suspect.

“Part of the scientific method, we never rely solely on one study,” Lewis said. “Studies have to be replicated. When there’s some new breakthrough—one study—it gets people’s attention, we’re interested, but [in medicine or public health] we’re not going to make changes until that study is replicated in a different institution by different people and the findings are consistent.”

Caldes noted a seesaw phenomenon: “Eggs have gone through ‘they’re good for you, they’re bad for you’; avocado, ‘it’s high in cholesterol, oh but it’s the good type of cholesterol’…

“With health and wellness and fitness and diet, that information is so fickle.”

Distinct from outright inaccuracy, Health Feedback delineated as credibility impacts such issues as lack of detail, absence of context, misinterpretation of findings and overstatement of significance. The study authors wrote, “This illustrates the need for journalists to go beyond simply accurately describing results and research in health news.”

Caldes feels readers also need to take extra steps.

“A well-meaning reporter can still make mistakes,” he said, “and half the articles we’re reading online are by citizen journalists or amateur journalists who are not working with an editorial board, haven’t been trained. So I want to put a lot of the effort on the consumer themselves. It’s your job to check the information; it’s your job to look into this further if it’s piqued your interest.”

Familiarity with the source of the material can serve as a good gauge of its accuracy.

Lewis sticks to sites for institutions she considers reputable. Her go-to resources are the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health. She also trusts research hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard and Johns Hopkins.

In an article, look for hyperlinks. If they connect to the original study, or a report on it from the researchers’ university, check that out. If links lead to a rabbit hole of rehashes, Caldes said, that’s a red flag.

“We’re now a nation of secondary sources,” he said. “We’re talking about articles that are using articles as their source material, rather than looking at studies, looking at statistics, looking at information from peer-reviewed journals.

“People can come up with questions on [the validity of] anything,” Caldes noted. “If something takes you to the CDC, I give that a certain amount of weight—or a Pew Research study, or a study coming out of Stanford. Could there be problems with it? Sure. But it’s not coming from these organizations that are just scouring the internet and writing things.”

Caldes considers Facebook, in particular, “a dumpster fire” of online info-sharing. While he found value in it during the Camp Fire aftermath, with immediate updates and connections to aid, “that was the first bright light I’ve seen in social media in a while.”

His recommendation: “Do not use Facebook to get your news and information. If you post and share, you are part of the problem—you’re just spreading information that was interesting to you that you didn’t do enough work to fully evaluate, but you’re willing to pass that on.”

Lewis, too, sees certain lines of value in the social media sphere. She suggested Twitter feeds from the county public health department and other reputable sources as ways to stay informed. Yet, she well understands the double-edged sword that unsheathes.

“It’s all in the way you use it,” she said of social media. As she tells her students, when going online, “there’s a wealth of information available. It’s a remarkable resource. Like any tool, you have to use it wisely.”

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Vaccine Hesitancy Tied To Community Norms : Shots – Health News

Hesitancy about vaccination in a community has a lot to do with acculturation to its norms.

Karl Tapales/Getty Images

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Karl Tapales/Getty Images

Hesitancy about vaccination in a community has a lot to do with acculturation to its norms.

Karl Tapales/Getty Images

Distrust of vaccines may be almost as contagious as measles, according to medical anthropologist Elisa Sobo.

More than 100 people have been infected with measles this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over 50 of those cases have occurred in southwest Washington state and northwest Oregon in an outbreak that led Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency on Jan. 25.

Some public health officials blame the surge of cases on low vaccination rates for this highly infectious disease.

Defying Parents, A Teen Decides To Get Vaccinated

Clark County, Wash. — the center of the current spate of cases — has an overall vaccination rate of 78 percent, but some schools in the county have rates lower than 40 percent.

Washington is one of 17 states that allows a parent to send his or her child to public school not completely vaccinated because of a “philosophical or personal objection to the immunization of the child.”

What makes some families reluctant to vaccinate their children? Sobo, a professor at San Diego State University, says it may be driven in part by the desire to conform in a community where many parents are skeptical of vaccines.

To better understand how parents decide not to vaccinate, Sobo interviewed families at a school with low vaccination rates in California. She found that skepticism of vaccines was “socially cultivated.”

Parents who believe that vaccines are dangerous persuaded other parents to believe the same thing by citing fears of “mainstream medicine” harming their children. Enrolling in the school even seemed to change the beliefs of some parents who had previously followed the state-mandated vaccine schedule: They started to refuse vaccines.

Once A Vaccine Skeptic, This Mom Changed Her Mind

NPR’s Audie Cornish spoke with Sobo on All Things Considered. These interview highlights have been edited for clarity and length.

What are the common ideas that we have about families that don’t believe in vaccination?

One common idea would be that they’re all absolutely looney-tunes, crazy people wearing tinfoil hats and reading all these conspiracy theories on crazy blogs on the Internet. And that is absolutely not the case. What I found was that most of the people who are hesitating to vaccinate … They’re really smart people, and they’re highly, highly educated.

Back in 2012, you actually spoke to some parents in California, in a community where parents had their kids at a fairly progressive school. Half of kindergarteners had gotten exemptions from vaccines. What was going on in this community?

Often, the parents, the family didn’t arrive at the school having any hesitancy about vaccinations … As they acculturated or became part of the community, that’s when these kinds of beliefs and practices would take hold.

The longer the family had been in the community, … this practice of being hesitant about vaccinations evolved and it became part of that family’s medical practice.

[In areas where there are low vaccination rates], there tends to be a more open norm, where not vaccinating is accepted or sometimes even encouraged. When you have people surrounding you that move in that direction, to go in a different direction has social costs.

Number Of Early Childhood Vaccines Not Linked To Autism

It’s not just the facts and the information that you’re going by. It’s: “What are the norms? What are people around me doing? And they seem to be OK, and everything’s working out for them.”

Think about yourself and the clothes that you wear to work. I’m guessing that you probably don’t have a formal dress code, but you kind of look around, and you see: “Oh, OK, this is what we’re expected to wear to work.” And you just do it.

Are you talking about a formal kind of peer pressure?

The peer pressure is not formal.

Informally, there becomes a sort of feeling in the community. It becomes known for not vaccinating.

There are parts of the country where there’s the opposite expectation, where someone who didn’t want to vaccinate their kids might be socially isolated for that decision.

And then their behaviors would be pushed underground. They might not feel comfortable telling other people.

When you see what’s going on in Washington State, what came to mind for you?

What is the media coverage going to do? Are they going to vilify these parents?

That witch hunt aspect is not helpful to have a good discussion about vaccination. It needs to be much more open and much less polarizing.

Are people ready to listen? Can there be convincing?

I think people are very ready to listen — if they’re heard. If you listen to them, and you allow them to say what they think without feeling judged, without pushing them into a corner, they’re absolutely ready.

Mara Gordon is a family physician in Washington, D.C., and a health and media fellow at NPR and Georgetown University School of Medicine.

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US launching program to spur investment in AI for health care

ORLANDO, Fla. — A top U.S. health official said Wednesday that the government will launch an “artificial intelligence health outcomes challenge” to spur private investment in the technology and help rethink the delivery of medical care.

Adam Boehler, head of Medicare and Medicaid’s innovation institute, said the goal of the initiative is to drive broader uptake of AI to help root out wasteful care, improve quality, and cut costs.

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Embrace teams large and small to foster the health of research

Small research teams are more likely to publish papers that pose new ideas, as opposed to elaborating on existing questions.Credit: Keith Brofsky/Getty

Modern science is big, and author lists are growing. The celebrated 2015 paper estimating the Higgs boson’s mass had a record-breaking 5,154 authors. And the number of papers with more than 1,000 authors has surged.

At the other end of the scale, single-author papers are scarce — almost non-existent in some fields. In an ecology journal, for instance, they dropped from 60% of publications in the 1960s, to just 4% over the past decade (J. Barlow et al. J. Appl. Ecol. 55, 1–4; 2018). And the average number of authors per paper rose from 3.8 in 2007 to 4.5 in 2011.

There are many reasons underlying the shift, including the enormous growth of the scientific community and the increasing amount of evidence presented in a single paper. But what are the consequences? Is the nature of research changing as larger teams are doing the work?

The authors of a paper in Nature this week tried to find out, by examining the “disruptiveness” of papers published over the past half a century (L. Wu et al. Nature; 2019). They measured the disruptiveness of a paper by looking closely at the citations it accrues: an article was considered to have posed a new idea, as opposed to solving or elaborating on existing questions, when the papers that cite it did not also cite many of its references.

The researchers found that, by this metric, teams containing fewer than five people tend to produce more disruptive work, whereas larger teams generate more incremental or consolidatory work. This held true for papers, patents and code, and across fields and time. This makes sense — large teams can marshal technical expertise and resources to tackle well-defined problems, but might be less likely to conceive unconventional ideas or be nimble enough to pursue them.

The effect appears to arise as a result of team dynamics, rather than through qualitative differences between individuals in different-sized teams. The authors showed that the same person tends to produce more disruptive work when working in smaller teams than in larger ones.

So is research becoming more mundane as the teams grow? Are genuinely new ideas being squelched by group-think? That seems unlikely: scientific advance comes in many forms, and research needs both disruption and consolidation, from small teams and large. The future health of the research ecosystem depends on a diverse range of team sizes. Research funders and policymakers should take note.

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Short-term health insurance plans may get consumer warnings

Democrats and Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday signaled they could band together to slap clear consumer warnings on short-term limited-duration health plans.

The bill by Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) aims to temper the Trump administration’s move to let people keep short-term plans for up to three years. These plans offer limited benefits and the insurers can deny claims they deem as a symptom of a pre-existing condition.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Grace-Marie Turner, president of the conservative Galen Institute who defended the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term plans as a needed low-cost alternative to ACA coverage, agreed the limited coverage of short-term plans warranted advisories.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on the health subcommittee, said he would look at the proposal but declined to weigh in. The bill was a late-breaking addition to the hearing proceedings.



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Trump’s doctor says he is in ‘very good health’ after exam by 11 specialists

Anne Gearan February 8

President Trump is “in very good health” and is expected to remain healthy for “the duration of his Presidency, and beyond,” the president’s doctor reported Friday after a physical exam that lasted nearly four hours and included 11 specialists.

The White House did not release details of the exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and did not say whether more details would be released.

Trump was seen by a “panel of 11 different board certified specialists,” Sean P. Conley wrote in a brief memorandum released by the White House.

The memo did not include the disciplines of any of the specialists. Typically, a physical exam includes checks of height, weight, blood pressure and other standard measures. Trump said last year that he takes a statin drug to manage his cholesterol.

Trump did not undergo any procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia, Conley reported.

Trump, 72, has visibly gained weight in recent years. He makes no secret of preferring a diet of red meat, fast food and sweets. He is not known to exercise beyond his beloved rounds of golf. He does not smoke or drink.

Trump’s former physician, Navy Rear Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, became an Internet sensation last year for his public pronouncement that Trump had “incredibly good genes.”

Jackson reported last year that Trump, who stands 6-foot-3, was slightly overweight at 239 pounds.

Jackson said then that Trump had a perfect score on a cognitive test and “might live to be 200 years old” if he had a more healthful diet.

That evaluation received lavish praise from the president, who shocked Washington a few months later by tapping the former combat surgeon to run the Department of Veterans Affairs — one of the federal government’s largest and most fraught bureaucracies.

But Jackson withdrew his name from consideration amid allegations that he had been drunk on the job, improperly prescribed medications and contributed to a toxic work environment.

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Your Good Health: AFib diagnosis despite exercise surprises man, 72

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 72-year-old man. I thought I was in excellent health until I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in a routine physical exam with an EKG about six months ago. I was and continue to be asymptomatic.

I am 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weigh 173 pounds. I do weight training and stretches at the gym two or three times each week and get cardio exercise by bicycling distances of 30-90 kilometres another one or two times each week. I am active and busy in other ways, though retired. I have never been a smoker and do not drink. I make an effort to eat healthy foods. Unlike most atrial fibrillation patients, my blood pressure and heart rate are very good. My resting heart rate is always around 50. Typical blood pressures are around 106/70. In a stress test at the time I was diagnosed it was 20 minutes until my heart rate reached 127.

My family physician prescribed 120 mg of diltiazem. I take aspirin 325 mg but no other medications. I do take vitamins daily. The diltiazem was later reduced to 30 mg by a cardiologist. In both cases it produced unwelcome side-effects (lethargy, disrupted sleep, strange dreams, dizziness). The cardiologist took me off all medications (except aspirin) and said to limit my physical activity some and commented, “You are healthy.” He did ask that I return in six months.

In a later routine physical, my family physician again picked up AFib, and said: “I wish you were on some kind of medication for this.” Although I feel good and seem to have no other health issues, I am concerned, as I understand that asymptomatic patients are still at risk. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.


Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart condition where the normal rhythm is replaced by a chaotic and unpredictable heartbeat.

Atrial fibrillation is treated with either “rhythm control” or “rate control,” in addition to reducing risk of stroke, which is elevated in all people with AFib. Rhythm control uses electricity or medications to try to return the heart to normal rhythm (called “sinus rhythm”). In rate control, the person is allowed to stay in AFib, but medications are given to keep the heart rate from going too fast, if necessary. It doesn’t seem to be necessary in you. It sounds like the cardiologist reached the conclusion that the side-effects from diltiazem were not worth a bit of protection from a fast heart rate, and from what you have told me, that makes sense to me.

Protection from stroke is still important to consider. A cardiologist will look at an individual’s risk for stroke (one tool for doing so is the CHADS-VASc score). While most people will need to be on a powerful medicine like warfarin or apixaban (Eliquis), some people are at low-enough risk that aspirin alone is sufficient. Too many people have had strokes due to inadequate treatment. It’s important to make sure everyone with AFib is on appropriate medication for them, and it sounds like aspirin alone is appropriate for you.

New wearable devices have the ability to detect atrial fibrillation. These may cause false alarms, but if you have a device that says you should get checked out, you should.

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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