Pat McNees

Writer, editor, ghostwriter, personal historian

"You drown not by falling into the river, but by staying submerged in it." ~ Paulo Coelho

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

Useful health care and medicine websites, blogs, and stories


• Medical links for smart patients and smart parents--information about health care and medical conditions
• You are what you eat...

THESE SECTIONS HAVE MOVED
• For your medical reference shelf
• Books about how healthcare professionals train, think, and act
• Reducing preventable medical errors
• Understanding the issues health care reform should address
• Managing (reducing) your medical costs


• Finding useful medical information online
• Cochran Library Evidence-based medicine. Review. Database. Trials. More resources.
• Cochran Database of Systematic Reviews
• The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care (slow loading)
• Drugs.com (a free drug information service)
• First Aid (Mayo Clinic's alphabetical links to how to administer first aid for various problems)
• GARD Information Navigator (Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center). Browse A-Z. Find diseases by category. List of FDA Orphan Drugs. FAQs about rare diseases.
• HealthFinder.gov (Health & Human Services)
• Johns Hopkins Health Library
• Mayo Clinic on Diseases and Conditions. Find a disease by its first letter. Symptom checker.
• Medical Dictionary (WebMD, alphabetical links)
• Medline Plus (trusted health information from the National Library of Medicine)
• MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (National Library of Medicine) See version
en espagnol (Informaciσn de Salud de la Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina)
• MedTerms Medical Dictionary A-Z List
• Symptom checker (Symcat)

A to Z listings


• America's Health Rankings
• Assessing Cardiovascular Risk: Systematic Evidence Review from the Risk Assessment Work Group (NIH/​NHLBI)
• Brain Tumors: A Primer (American Brain Tumor Association)
• Calculate Your Body Mass Index (BMI) (NIH, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
• Cancer.gov (National Cancer Institute)
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
• Clinical Guidelines and Recommendations (AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) Evidence-based research provides the basis for sound clinical practice guidelines and recommendations
• Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide (University of Maryland Medical Center)
• Coping with chronic, rare, and invisible diseases and disorders
• CountyRX card Save up to 75% off on all FDA approved drugs at 57,000 pharmacies nationwide.
• Cut to the Heart (companion site to PBS Nova series on radical but promising new form of heart surgery)
• Epocrates (a medical app)
• Evidence-based medicine (Writers and Editors site)
• EWG's Guide to Sunscreens
• 15 steps you can take to reduce your chances of hospital-acquired infection (Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths)
• Flu.gov (CDC: Get a flu vaccine every year)
• Framingham Coronary Heart Disease Risk Score
• Free community clinics (PatientAssistance guide to free clinics, by state and county/​city)
• Grand Rounds (live and archived, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock)
• A Guided Tour of the Visible Human Washington University Medical School - The MAD Scientist Network) See more projects based on the Visible Human dataset.
• A guided tour of your body (Well Guide, New York Times) A well-illustrated, excellent, many-layered guide.
• Health information privacy (HIPAA)
• HealthNewsReview (rates health and medical stories for accuracy, balance and completeness), VERY interesting and helpful, though it doesn't cover all stories
• Health Screening: What Tests You Need and When (NIH Medline Plus, 2007)
• Health Screening for Children (OnHealth)
• Heart Disease Risk Calculator (Mayo Clinic)
• Heart failure: Warning signs
• Heart/​Stroke Recognition Program (HSRP) (voluntary program designed to recognize clinicians who use evidence-based measures and provide excellent care to persons with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or who have had a stroke)
• HIV InSite Comprehensive, up-to-date information on HIV/​AIDS treatment and prevention from the University of California San Francisco
• How to find a disease specialist (Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center, 1-888-205-2311)
• How to Find Good Health Information (Medical Library Association)
• Medical mysteries (difficult to diagnose)
• MRSA Infections: The Basics
• 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.
• Participate in Clinical Studies (NIH Clinical Center)
• PatientAssistance (helping patients get medication--government benefits available in each state)
• Symcat symptom checker. See Harvard researchers tested 23 online ‘symptom checkers.’ Most got failing grades. Here’s how they stack up. (Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, 7-10-15)
• Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering (Ray Moynihan and David Henry, British Medical Journal, PMC, April 2002)
• STATS (checking out facts and figures behind medical news -- the gateway to statistics)
• Suicide and Suicide Prevention
• Tips for the Undiagnosed
• Top Health Websites (Medical Library Association)
• Vision Surgery Rehab Network (information and support for patients with undesirable outcomes from vision surgery (Lasik,etc.)
• Vitamin D
• Waltzing helps mend hearts (Marilynn Marchione, WaPo story)


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Reliable online information about health care, diseases, medications, etc.
• Finding reliable medical information online
• Cochran database of systematic reviews (of evidence-based research).
• First Aid (Mayo Clinic information to help in an emergency)
• GARD Information Navigator (Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center). Browse A-Z. Find diseases by category. List of FDA Orphan Drugs. FAQs about rare diseases.
• Johns Hopkins Health Library
• Mayo Clinic on Diseases and Conditions. Find a disease by its first letter. Symptom checker.
• Medical Dictionary (Web MD)
• MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (National Library of Medicine) See version en espanol (Informaciσn de Salud de la Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina)
• MedTerms (Medicine.Net.com)

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




MyClaimSource (information about filing claims online, and a forum on which to compare notes with or get responses to questions from other claim filers)

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.



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


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


ARTICLES and STORIES (Part 2, also moved ...)
• 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 produce: Seed Savers Exchange, High Mowing Organic Seeds , and Harry Here Farm
• Julia Child Was Wrong: Don't Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks (Maria Godoy, NPR) Washing the chicken increases the chances that you'll spread the foodborne pathogens that are almost certainly on your bird all over the rest of your kitchen too.
• 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)
• Foods That Help Keep the Pounds Off as You Age (Amy Norton, HealthDay, 4-23-15) Keep that glycemic load in check.
• 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)
• Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat (Hank Cardello with Doug Garr)
• Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Michael Moss)
• Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal (Melanie Warner)



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.
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