Why I’m not a big fan of vitamins and supplements

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By Mark Buckawicki via Wikimedia Commons

In 2013, people in the United States spent nearly $35 billion on vitamins and supplements.  Something like 1 in 3 people take a multivitamin, and around half of people took some type of supplement in the past 30 days.

So why, on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast the other day, did I say that I am not a big fan of supplements?.  They’re supposed to be good for you, right?  Are all those people wrong?

No, they’re not all wrong.  But I do have opinions on the use of vitamins and supplements, and I do think that for most people, they are a waste of money.  Allow me to explain . . .

But first, to hear me pontificate about supplements on the radio broadcast, download the podcast by clicking the logo here and fast-forwarding to 28:54.

(Healthy Matters show #448, August 6, 2017)

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Posted in Health and wellness, Preventive care | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Summertime emergencies are no fun

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

Admit it, I look cool

Hey, friends, this is Part 2 of 2 posts about emergencies.  You may wish to check out the first post, “An insider’s view of the emergency department” which gives a look at a major Level I trauma center.   This post will cover just a few tips for staying safe this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

For no reasons other than to get you in the summertime mood and because you never really need a reason to listen to Ella Fitzgerald, you may want to listen to this tidbit of musical perfection:

Holy cow. Magical.  Check out her voice at 1:00 – 1:05. Continue reading

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Posted in Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast, Trauma and emergency, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

An insider’s view of the Emergency Department

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I have a colleague at Hennepin County Medical Center who is into cool stuff.  He does a lot of biking, he does backcountry skiing in British Columbia, he raises bees in his Minneapolis backyard and makes honey from those bees – honey which has won awards at the Minnesota State Fair, no less.

And he tells a good tale.  His name is Aaron Rutzick.  One time he told me this one about a bike crash he had when in real-time he realized that his helmet was saving him as he hit the pavement with his head . . .

“I was riding down 3rd Ave in south Minneapolis at night, I think I hit a pothole or something in the road because I was going pretty fast and just went over my handle bars.  there I was, upside down, and yes … using my helmet.  I slid to a stop in front of some hipster bikers drinking beer.  They were sympathetic and seemed to have a keen understanding of that moment.  I was OK and took off for home before everything started hurting.  I’d say in general, I’m a pretty experienced commuter, riding most days in all seasons to get to work since 2001.  Thankfully, no car was involved, but it was a reminder that a bike crash could happen in a split second – so BE CAREFUL.  It didn’t keep me from riding, I’m certainly aware that you have to be on your game, especially with cars.  The Twin Cities has really developed its bicycle lanes over the last 10-15 years, and is one of the leading cities in the nation for supporting safe biking and bike culture.  Great place to live for this.”   – Dr. Aaron Rutzick

I especially like the image of Aaron flying over his handlebars in front of “hipster bikers drinking beer.”  Sort of sums up Minneapolis life.  I wonder if any of the hipsters looked like this:

By Lorena Cupcake [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, you should wear your bike helmet like Dr. Rutzick so you can live to tell about it. Continue reading

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Posted in HCMC, Trauma and emergency | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding the ordinary among the extraordinary

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Hi, Healthy Matters friends!

I have been steadily moving toward more writing in my career and specifically I’ve been working in an area called “narrative non-fiction.”  My writings are mostly based on medicine, health and wellness.  Big surprise there – sort of like what I do on this blog. I hope to collect them into a book at some point if I get any good at it.

A venue for publishing narrative non-fiction in the medical field is an online journal called Intima and I had an essay posted there in April.  It was called Don’t worry, at least we will die together!” and it was about my experience with medical students in Jerusalem.  If you missed it, you can access the piece in this blog post below.

The editors encourage writers to interact with other writers on the site, and so I wrote a very short post in response to an essay by Margot Hedlin, a newly minted doctor whom I have never met.  Her essay was called, “There’s a limit to your love” and it was really thought-provoking.  She’s a terrific writer and she masterfully got me thinking about the mundane and the not-so-mundane parts of medicine.

My response to Dr. Hedlin’s piece has now been published in Intima.  It is called Finding the ordinary among the extraordinary.”  It has my musings about the need to sometimes find normalcy even in utterly abnormal situations.  Like medicine.

I encourage you to read Dr. Hedlin’s piece first in the “Field Notes” section, then my short response in the “Crossroads” section.  Maybe as a trio these pieces will pull together some themes that resonate with you.

Here are quick links to these three pieces:

I’d love to foster dialogue, so please feel free to share these pieces on Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, or wherever you spend your social media time.  Or simply share this MyHealthyMatters blog post and let people do their own clicking!  (Buttons to share are at the top and bottom of every post I do).

And the editors at Intima encourage a wider conversation, so maybe you could leave a comment on the site with your reaction to any of these pieces.

For the main Intima site, click the logo here:

Happy reading and happy contemplation!

David

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Humanities and Medicine | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Can you exercise your way to a lower weight?

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Hey friends!  Back in April I had just returned from “doctor college” in San Diego and I intend to share bits of what I learned there.  Previous posts in this vein have been:

This post is about exercise and weight loss.  Specifically:  Is exercise an effective way to lose weight?

Hmmm . . . . donuts.

Anybody else have a somewhat idle piece of exercise equipment in your house?  The picture at the top of this post is my actual basement treadmill.  On the plus side, it is a terrific place to hang shirts while ironing.  On the negative side, I’m delinquent in my ironing duties.

It is a pretty rare bird indeed who doesn’t sometimes want to lose some weight.  I’m in this group.  Although I’m a rather skinny, lanky guy – I do have that bit of a gut that hangs out more than I’d like.  And I’m a runner, at least much of the time, so I’m thinking . . . WHAT GIVES?  How can I exercise as much as I do and still have weight in places I don’t want it?

I have been told it is not a dearth of exercise that is leading to a big belly, but it is an abundance of donuts.

And who am I kidding, if there is anything that ought to be in abundance, it’s donuts, I say. Continue reading

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Posted in Diet and exercise | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

10 questions to ask your doctor: my interview in the Star Tribune

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Hi, friends,

I was recently interviewed by Allie Shah of the Minneapolis Star Tribune for an article titled “10 questions you should ask your doctor.”   As I mentioned on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast last Sunday, I am posting the link to the article.

Check it out if you wish by clicking the underline link above.  Share or post as you want!

David

 

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Posted in Primary Care | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cool event in Minnesota: “Science: Why Don’t Facts Seem to Matter?”

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Hey, gang, just a quick post about an event I want you to know about.  It is called “Science in Society:  Why Don’t Facts Seem to Matter?” and it is happening this Thursday, June 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Central time at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

 

The event is hosted by Valery Forbes, Dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota and is co-sponsored by the ARCS Foundation and the Science Museum of Minnesota.  I’m excited to share a panel with outstanding people who have keen insights on science and communication.

Joining me on the discussion panel are:

  • Patrick Hamilton
    Director of Global Change Initiatives
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Maggie Koerth-Baker
    Senior Science Writer at FiveThirtyEight
  • Kris Ehresmann
    Director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division
    Minnesota Department of Health

There is a networking portion over light snacks in which promising young scientists will be present to share their work and be recognized as ARCS Scholars.  So we get a glimpse of the future of science through these incredible scholars.  The way I see it, we need to promote science and those who pursue it as a career – now more than ever.

Register at the ARCS Foundation site here.  You get free parking and admission to the Science Museum as part of your registration so make an afternoon and evening out of it!

If you’re a person who likes to think, learn, ponder, question, explore –  and tie it all together with our collective life as a society, then join us at the Science Museum this Thursday.

And if you do attend, be sure to introduce yourself to me!

David

 

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Posted in Getting medical information | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Falls: Humpty Dumpty was just like you and me

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Sobering facts about falls in the elderly:

  • The leading cause of injury that leads to death in people over age 65 is falling.
  • That means 27,000 older adults in the US will not survive a fall in a year.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 older adults will fall in a given year.
  • That adds up to 29,000,000 (yes, that says 29 million) falls in a single year, resulting in 7 million injuries.

Ouch.  So we, like our egg-shaped friend on the wall, need to be careful!

On the radio program last week, my colleague, HCMC Geriatrician Dr. Larry Kerzner joined me in the WCCO studios for a conversation about falls.  If you missed that show, check out the podcast (without commercial breaks!) and listen on your computer or mobile device.  Click the logo here to get to the podcast:

(Healthy Matters show #439, June 4, 2017)

For now, let’s move beyond the grim statistics and learn a bit . . .

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Posted in Geriatrics and aging | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Special topics: Lyme disease

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Back in April I posted about medical science and what I had learned at my latest continuing education conference (the American College of Physicians conference in San Diego).  Go ahead and re-read that post to get my thoughts on how to approach medical science.  I had said that I’d be doing future posts about some of what I learned at doctor school in San Diego.  The first of those was a look at Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections.  Now I’m tackling Lyme disease, much at my own peril since there is raging controversy about this one – at least with some folks.

Here’s what you’ll find if you read on:

  • Lyme disease basics.
  • Acute Lyme disease.
  • Post Lyme Disease Syndrome, which some call “chronic Lyme disease.”

Fasten your seat belts, here we go . . .

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Posted in Infections, Joint and Muscle issues, Quick tips | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Ask the Dermatologist!

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Things are very serious in the WCCO studios!

Hey hey!

A couple of weeks ago on the Healthy Matters radio show we featured two of my colleagues from Dermatology, Drs. Jenny Liu and Erin Luxenberg.  You’ll find us in the photo to the left in the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis getting ready for the show.

We’re obviously a pretty tense and serious group, eh?

We mostly focused on skin cancer during that show and it was really informative and fun.  If you missed the show, you can listen to the commercial-free podcast by clicking here (Healthy Matters show #434, April 30, 2017).

As usual, we get way more calls, texts, and tweets than we can get to on the live broadcast.  So for this blog post we are continuing the show, in a way, by having Dr. Luxenberg and Dr. Liu respond to some of the text questions from that show.  So if we didn’t get to your question on the air, maybe we will cover it here.

Here goes . . .  Continue reading

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Posted in Dermatology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments