Pat McNees

Writer, editor, ghostwriter, personal historian

Full Reclining Sofa (Lazyboy, "Owen Power La-Z-Time," great for people who need to elevate their legs)

Pulse: Voices From the Heart of Medicine - The First Year, ed. Paul Gross and Diane Guernsey (excellent essays, poems and short narratives from the hearts and in the voices of patients and their health care providers, from the online magazine Pulse)

Article linking autism to vaccination was fraudulent. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief, Jane Smith, deputy editor, and Harvey Marcovitch, associate editor, British Medical Journal 5 Jan 2011. A 1998 Lancet paper, chiefly by Andrew Wakefield, implied a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and a “new syndrome” of autism and bowel disease. Clear evidence of falsification of data in that article should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare, write BMJ's top editors. In a seven-part series, journalist Brian Deer shows the extent of Wakefield's fraud and how it was perpetrated: In a seven-part series, journalist Brian Deer shows the extent of Wakefield's fraud and how it was perpetrated: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed.
Here's video of discussion on the Dylan Ratigan Show (MSNBC)of scientific fraud.



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Medical links for smart patients, parents, and caregivers



Addiction, recovery, and health-related problems
This clearly needs more research and entries. Later!
• 50 Essential Tips To Help You Stay Clean And Sober , and Alternatives To AA and Is There Such Thing As An Alcoholic Personality? (Clean and Sober Live)
• Addiction, Heart Disease, and Stroke (Recovery Connection)
• Alcohol and Cirrhosis of the Liver (Recovery Connection)
• Addiction and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) (Recovery Connection)
• Alcohol detoxification (Lakeview Health Systems site)

Annual physicals and health care screening tests
Physicals, yes--just not annually. Definitely get a physical when something is wrong.
• A Check on Physicals (Jane Brody, Well, 1-21-13) A 'Danish team noted that routine exams consist of “combinations of screening tests, few of which have been adequately studied in randomized trials.” Among possible harms from health checks, they listed “overdiagnosis, overtreatment, distress or injury from invasive follow-up tests, distress due to false positive test results, false reassurance due to false negative test results, adverse psychosocial effects due to labeling, and difficulties with getting insurance.”'
• Which screening tests are worth getting? , sidebar to story Annual physical exam is probably unnecessary if you’re generally healthy (Christie Aschwanden, Washington Post, 2-8-13).
• Healthfinder.gov

Article linking autism to vaccination was fraudulent. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief, Jane Smith, deputy editor, and Harvey Marcovitch, associate editor, British Medical Journal 5 Jan 2011. A 1998 Lancet paper, chiefly by Andrew Wakefield, implied a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and a “new syndrome” of autism and bowel disease. Clear evidence of falsification of data in that article should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare, write BMJ's top editors. In a seven-part series, journalist Brian Deer shows the extent of Wakefield's fraud and how it was perpetrated: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed

Grand Rounds at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (talks and slide shows available free online)


The NNT. The Number Needed to Treat -- a tool to communicate benefit and harm that both patients and doctors can understand (traditionally, the number required to prevent one death). See also the Lancet article, Numbers needed to treat (needlessly?) by Peter Bogaty and James Brophy, suggesting that the NNT obscures the reality that many patients are treated without benefit. Figures on such questions as whether taking an aspirin prevents a heart attack (or does harm), whether beta blockers prevent myocardial infarction (or do harm), is the Mediterranean diet helpful after heart attack, do statin drugs given for five years (with or without known heart disease)help or harm health, in what ways? and so on.

New York Times:
• NY Times Health Navigator (Rich Meislin's selective guide to health and medical sites)
• NY Times Health Guide (and A-to-Z guide, with more than 3,000 topics described, illustrated, and investigated)

NIH (National Institutes of Health):
• Frequently asked questions
• Health Information (by age group, by gender, by condition/​disease, by body system, and so on, including info on health and wellness)
• NIH RePORTER (NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting), a searchable database about federally funded biomedical research projects and programs (replaced CRISP). News updates here.
• NIH Senior Health
• NIH Telephone & Services Directory, including links to the various institutes and centers
• Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR)

Pharmed Out, a university-based project that empowers physicians to identify and counter inappropriate pharmaceutical promotion practices and learn more about evidence-based practices. Interesting for consumers, too--take a good look through resources.

Suicide Prevention
• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• Warning Signs for Suicide (American Association of Suicidology -- "Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business")
• 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (PDF, Report of the U.S. Surgeon General and of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention)
• Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention . See its Resourcespage.
• Surviving Suicide: The Ones Left Behind (Lorna Simon, MD, Psychiatric Services, 12-1-03)
• Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) . See its Best Practices Registry
• Suicide Prevention (National Institute of Mental Health). See its Frequently Asked Questions.
• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
• Online support groups


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REDUCING PREVENTABLE MEDICAL ERRORS

In 1999 the Institute of Medicine published its report, To Err Is Human:Building a Safer Health System, which presented a strategy by which government, health care providers, industry, and consumers could reduce preventable medical errors. This report led to several others, which an educated consumer could use as a checklist on how not to be the victim of hospital-caused medical problems (above all, make sure whoever does a procedure on you washes their hands first).

In February 2000, the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force (QuIC) issued a report, Doing What Counts for Patient Safety: Federal Action to Reduce Medical Errors and Their Impact, listing more than 100 activities needed to:
1. Create a national focus on reducing errors.
2. Develop a knowledge base for learning about errors' causes and effective error prevention.
3. Ensure accountability for safe health care delivery.
4. Guarantee that patient safety practices are implemented.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced the 100k lives Campaign, through which healthcare organizations, by implementing one or more of six specific evidence-based practices, could join a campaign to potentially prevent 100,000 avoidable deaths. Six interventional measures were identified as crucial to improving patient safety:
* Deploying rapid response teams at the first sign of patient decline.
* Delivering reliable, evidence-based care for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) to prevent deaths from heart attack (for example, give patient an aspirin).
* Preventing adverse drug events (ADE) by implementing medication reconciliation.
* Preventing central line infections by implementing a series of scientifically grounded interdependent interventions.
* Preventing surgical site infections by reliably delivering appropriate antibiotics and other specific steps.
* Preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia by implementing a series of scientifically grounded interdependent interventions.

Following are links to websites and reports that deal with improving patient safety and hospital staff performance.

The Checklist

"Intensive care succeeds only when we hold the odds of doing harm low enough for the odds of doing good to prevail. This is hard. There are dangers simply in lying unconscious in bed for a few days. Muscles atrophy. Bones lose mass. Pressure ulcers form. Veins begin to clot off. You have to stretch and exercise patients’ flaccid limbs daily to avoid contractures, give subcutaneous injections of blood thinners at least twice a day, turn patients in bed every few hours, bathe them and change their sheets without knocking out a tube or a line, brush their teeth twice a day to avoid pneumonia from bacterial buildup in their mouths. Add a ventilator, dialysis, and open wounds to care for, and the difficulties only accumulate....

But consider: there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of things doctors do that are at least as dangerous and prone to human failure as putting central lines into I.C.U. patients. It’s true of cardiac care, stroke treatment, H.I.V. treatment, and surgery of all kinds. It’s also true of diagnosis, whether one is trying to identify cancer or infection or a heart attack. All have steps that are worth putting on a checklist and testing in routine care. The question — still unanswered — is whether medical culture will embrace the opportunity."
~ Atul Gawande, "The Checklist," in The New Yorker

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A READING LIST OF BOOKS ON MEDICINE, HEALTH CARE, AND CAREGIVING -- FOR PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS

An Uncertain Inheritance: Writers on Caring for Family edited by Nell Casey. Wonderful writing, excellent insights into the complexities both of caring and of being cared for, during an illness.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison (about manic depression).

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande

Brain Surgeon: A Doctor's Inspiring Encounters with Mortality and Miracles by Keith Black

Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande

Emergency!: True Stories From The Nation's ERs by Mark Brown

Hot Lights, Cold Steel: Life, Death and Sleepless Nights in a Surgeon's First Years, Michael J. Collins memoir of his grueling surgical residency at the Mayo Clinic

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman

How We Die by Sherwin Nuland (excellent descriptions of exactly how the various body systems fail, when they fail -- a primer even for healthy readers)

Illness as Metaphor: AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Sontag

Intern: A Doctor's Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar

In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine by John Stone

Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death in the ER by Pamela Grim

Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties, by Laurie Edwards

Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work) by Suzanne Gordon, author of Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, And Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses And Patient Care.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, by Oliver Sachs

The Measure of Our Days: New Beginnings at Life's End by Jerome Groopman

Medical Detectives, by Berton Roueche

My Own Country: A Doctor's Story , Abraham Verghese's memoir of being a doctor during the early years of AIDS.

On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency by Emily R. Transue

Pulse: Voices From the Heart of Medicine - The First Year, ed. Paul Gross and Diane Guernsey (excellent essays, poems and short narratives from the hearts and in the voices of patients and their health care providers, from the online magazine Pulse)

Second Opinions: Stories of Intuition and Choice in the Changing World of Medicine by Jerome Groopman

Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives , edited by Lee Gutkind (essays about communication failures that lead to potentially lethal medical error)

Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, ed. Nell Casey

When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery by Frank Vertosick Jr.

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For Your Medical Reference Shelf


Although you can learn a lot online through Medline Plus and WebHealth.com (links above), you may want to have a good general reference book at home, too. Here are a few possibilities:

The Body Clock Guide to Better Health by Michael Smolensky and Lynne Lamberg

The Cornell Illustrated Medical Encyclopedia: The Definitive Medical Home Reference Guide (Weill Cornell Health Series) by Antonio Gotto

The Johns Hopkins Complete Home Guide to Symptoms & Remedies by Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter Health After 50

The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Medical Tests: What You Can Expect, How You Should Prepare, What Your Results Mean by Simeon Margolis

Know Your Body: The Atlas of Anatomy by Emmet B. Keefe

Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, 3rd edition, by the Mayo Clinic

Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, by Kathleen Pagana and Timothy Pagana (helpful in interpreting lab test results)

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If We Are What We Eat, Read These Books and Articles!


""Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."~Michael Pollan


Bottom line: Shop the periphery of the supermarket. All the natural foods are there. The center of the market is full of the processed foods that are stripped of some nutrients and loaded with garbage that increases profits for stores and manufacturers while burdening you with extra fat, sugar, salt, calories, and weight. Also: Don't rely on supplements -- try getting your vitamins through whole foods.

• Green onions: The unheralded, phytonutrient-rich super food Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Splendid Table) interviews Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, about how to select foods that are full of healthy phytonutrients -- and how to preserve those nutrients while cooking. Her premise: Over thousands of years of agriculture, many of the phytonutrients have been bred out of the plants we buy at the supermarket. Some apples are more nutritious than others, and green onions are far healthier than the other kinds--IF you eat the GREEN part!

• Diverse Gut Microbes, A Trim Waistline And Health Go Together (Rob Stein, All Things Considered, NPR, 8-28-13) Listen or read. The proper diet is the key to getting healthier. "The researchers also identified eight species of bacteria that appeared to be missing among the people whose microbes were depleted, raising the possibility of someday creating a probiotic that could help."

• Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. See Joanna Blythman's review in The Observer 2-23-13. She writes: "Moss's central thesis is that junk food is a legalised type of narcotic. By deliberately manipulating three key ingredients – salt, sugar and fat – that act much like drugs, racing along the same pathways and neural circuitry to reach the brain's pleasure zones, the food and drink industry has created an elastic formula for a never-ending procession of lucrative products."

• Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner . Read Michael Shermer's review in WSJ (2-22-13). "These days even the simplest sandwich can contain any number of mysterious food additives. "

• The New American Plate Cookbook, a good-for-you cookbook filled with delicious recipes from the American Institute for Cancer Research

• The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger (tasty and healthy versions of popular "crave" dishes) and her So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week

• Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser (read this and then start cooking from The New American Plate)

• The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan (and check out his practical Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (illus. by Maira Kalman)

• The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (Michael Moss, NY Times Magazine, 2-20-13). Inside the hyperengineered, savagely marketed, addiction-creating battle for American “stomach share.” Salt+Fat/​Satisfying Crunch x Pleasing Mouth Feel = A Food Designed to Addict. (About the snack-food business more than about science.)

• King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains, by King Arthur Flour (a baker's store, bakery, and education--including online baking classes and recipes, where you can buy things like barley flour or graham flour to make the yummy, healthy recipes in the baking book).

• Along the same line: The Best Grains for Diabetics (Kara Bauer, HealthCentral, 3-31-10)

For if you want to experiment with healthy veggie recipes:
• 25 Best Vegetarian Recipes (Cooking Light)
• Carrie on Vegan
• FatFree Vegan Kitchen
• Frugal Kiwi . Two items in particular are on my to-do list; preserved lemons and tangelos and their Dry Coke Can Solar Heating Panel (which I want someone who can cut a hole through their exterior house wall to try).

Free ebooks from Cultures for Health
• LactoFermentation eBook. See also eBooks on learning to make yogurt, kefir, cheese, sourdough, and kombuch. Here are interesting recipes from Nourishing Days , including Yogurt Ranch Dip.

• Happy Herbivore
• Oh She Glows
• One Green Planet
• The Simple Veganista
• Vegan Mother Hubbard
• Vegan Yack Attack
• Veggie Nook
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Free ebooks from Cultures for Health
• LactoFermentation eBook. See also eBooks on learning to make yogurt, kefir, cheese, sourdough, and kombuch

ARTICLES and STORIES:
• Reviving An Heirloom Corn That Packs More Flavor And Nutrition (Allison Aubrey interviews chef Dan Barber of the famed Blue Hill restaurant--this makes you want to grow heirloom corn, which packs more protein, less sugar). Barber says better flavor goes hand in hand with better nutrition; much of our food is bred to be easy to grow and have long shelf-life -- not for wholesomeness and flavor. Sources of heirloom produceSeed Savers Exchange, High Mowing Organic Seeds , and Harry Here Farm
• Julia Child Was Wrong: Don't Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks (Maria Godoy, NPR)
• Slow Food Quickens the Pace (Mark Bittman, Opinionator, NY Times, 3-26-13). See also Slow Food USA (supporting good, clean, and fair food), which Bittman calls "probably the only international organization that integrates concerns about the environment, tradition, labor, health, animal welfare … along with real cooking, taste and pleasure."
• Curb Those Cravings (blog)
• Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weight Loss? (Moises Velasquez-Manoff, Mother Jones, 4-22-13). Imbalances in the microbial community in your intestines may lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes. What does science say about how to reset our bodies? (Explains difference between prebiotics and probiotics.) See also Should You Take a Probiotic? (Maddie Oatman, Mother Jones). The popular supplements might be more about marketing than beneficial microbes.
• How The Food Industry Manipulates Taste Buds With 'Salt Sugar Fat' (Nell Boescheenstein, The Salt, National Public Radio, 2-26-13). "In his new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss goes inside the world of processed and packaged foods. "Dealing Coke to customers called "heavy users." Selling to teens in an attempt to hook them for life. Scientifically tweaking ratios of salt, sugar and fat to optimize consumer bliss."
• Food Technology And How It Shaped The Western Palate (interesting Kojo Nnandi radio interview with Gabriella Petrick)
• For Three Years, Every Bite Organic (Tara Parker-Pope, NYT, reports what Dr. Alan Greene learned from his three-year experiment)
• The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating (Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times 6-30-08)
• Hypertension: Tips for Eating Out in Various Cuisines (Southwestern Medical Center)
• The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food without Gluten and Lactose by Barbara Kafak
• Is there a link between chocolate and depression? Joanne Silberner, NPR, 4-26-10, on the connection between depression and chocolate. Chocolate-lovers, check out Joanne's favorite website, Cnocolate and Zucchini (especially the forums).
• Meatless Monday (recipes and information to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer)
• Michael Pollan Offers 64 Ways to Eat Food (Tara Parker-Pope, NYTimes, 1-8-2010)
• Please, don't pass the salt! (blog)
• Recipes for Health (Martha Rose Shulman's articles, recipes, NY Times)
• Reduce Your Cancer Risk (recipes from the AICR Test Kitchen, which also produced a fabulous cookbook: The New American Plate Cookbook
• Snake Oil? Scientific evidence for popular health supplements (great graph showing how much scientific evidence there is to support various supplements)
• Stay Young at Heart (Cooking the Heart-Healthy way, good recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute))
• Vegan Before Dinnertime (Mark Bittman on carnivores eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods)
• A Year of Produce (Jane Pellicciotto)

COOKING FOR FAMILY MEMBERS WITH ALLERGIES:
• The Gluten-Free Craze, transcript for Diane Rehm's radio broadcast on the topic (WAMU-FM, 88.5 NPR 2-16-12). One point made by panelist Katherine Tallmadge: a gluten-free diet may not provide many essential nutrients, so you must be careful. Try using whole grains from another culture..."that we're not used to... They're emerging in the marketplace and people are using them in recipes instead of the refined grains that create nutritional deficiencies, fiber deficiencies, B-vitamin deficiencies."
• The Food Allergy Mama's Baking Book: Great Dairy-, Egg-, and Nut-Free Treats for the Whole Family by Kelly Rudnick
• Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook by Cybele Pascal
• The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More by Laura Russell
• by Annalise G. Roberts
•
Gluten-Free Living, a magazine aimed at people with the auto-immune disorder celiac disease
• Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap by Nicole Hunn
• The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes by Susan O'Brien
• The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen: Delicious and Nutritious Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free Dishes by Donna Klein
• The 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes for Your Vegan Kitchen: Delicious Smoothies, Soups, Salads, Entrees, and Desserts by Kelley E. Keough
• Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book by Jennifer Katzinger
and do read
• Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley



For Three Years, Every Bite Organic
(an excerpt)

"Dr. Greene said he was inspired to go all-organic after talking to a dairy farmer who noted that livestock got sick less after a switch to organic practices. He wondered if becoming 100 percent organic might improve his own health.

"Three years later, he says he has more energy and wakes up earlier. As a pediatrician regularly exposed to sick children, he was accustomed to several illnesses a year. Now, he says, he is rarely ill. His urine is a brighter yellow, a sign that he is ingesting more vitamins and nutrients....

"In corporate cafeterias and convenience stores, he looked for stickers that began with the number 9 to signify organic; stickers on conventionally grown produce begin with 4."

~ Tara Parker-Pope, For Three Years, Every Bite Organic , Well column, The New York Times 12-1-08

Books, articles, and more

Writing or telling life stories
Everyone has a story to tell. What's keeping you from telling yours? Become a storykeeper or personal historian or find one.
Read aloud at a memorial service decades later
A loving testament, or legacy letter, sharing your life experiences and lessons with the next generation
Learn to write articles, reports, ethical wills, or life stories (memoirs and beyond).
Mom — hardworking, sassy, and full of surprises
Mutual support and discussion
Social history through the life of an ordinary Midwestern businessman.
Dancing, food, good books, and other diversions
Favorites of several book groups
What is the single lunch-bag item most hated by all children?
What heightens the caviar experience is the price of those little gray or black sturgeon eggs.
Links to dancing venues and calendars for the Washington, D.C. area.
Midlife "first dates"
Did she fall in love with the man or the waltz?
Also related: jive, hustle, hand-dancing.
All the dancing your feet can take
Choosing a school of dance
Contra, English country, international, Irish, Israeli, Scandinavian, Scottish
The big ones, with dirty stems
"A rich, varied, and highly rewarding collection," says Joyce Carol Oates
Ceilis (Irish dancing)
Medical mysteries, patient stories, and practical links
John Travolta played the boy in the movie. The real story ended far differently.
Thin little Marian had a cholesterol problem most people have never heard of.
You've probably never heard of this national research hospital and clinic. But someone you know may be able to benefit from it directly and all of us do, indirectly.
Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the debate on health care reform. Avoiding medical errors
Dying, mourning, and other inevitable events
"This remarkable collection, coming from personal experience and wide reading, will help many find the potential of growth through loss." --Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the hospice movement
For those dying, for caregivers, and for the bereaved
Listen to samples of popular songs and music
Girls and science
Cool science sites
Best practices for teaching science--to strengthen the science workforce.
Some links and a selection
Practical matters
Identify children's learning styles and improve their ability to learn.
Six weeks to hassle-free homework.
Why parents should be concerned.
Public speaking is a craft, not an art. It can be learned.
Can you wash it if it says "dry clean"?
Fact vs. fantasy
One woman's story.
Don't focus on the fabric.
Organizational histories
A frank history of the Young Presidents' Organization.
The little lift truck that could — a story of brilliant marketing in America's heartland.
Online Shopping
Best places to shop online