Patients used to accept doctors’ orders without question. Today, more are asking questions and challenging their doctors’ opinions. However, even those who do it politely are likely to be labeled “difficult.” A doctor whose late wife nearly made a career of being a difficult patient discusses how patients can do it respectfully and fruitfully.
A blood test to diagnose cancer is a little bit closer. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has identified certain proteins in blood plasma, which if elevated indicate the patient has cancer. Scientists have found that nearly 2,400 so called phosphoproteins in plasma and have identified 144 that are significantly greater in people with cancer compared to healthy controls. Researchers hope that eventually blood tests can replace biopsies in cancer diagnosis and in monitoring patients after treatment.
With the arrival of baseball come pitching injuries, but an osteopathic manipulation may help prevent some of them. A study in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association studied college players whose range of shoulder motion was decreased as a result of pitching. Researchers say a single administration of a manipulative treatment called the Spencer technique restored 85% of their rotation.
And finally a good sex life makes you much more productive at work. A study in the Journal of Management shows that employees have much more job satisfaction and engagement in their work the day after having sex. Researchers say the effect is just as strong for both men and women, and lasts for at least 24 hours. And that’s Medical Notes this week.
Since the introduction of antibiotics in World War II, doctors have prescribed courses of treatment that typically ran longer than necessary. Bacterial resistance is forcing a reevaluation, shortening courses sometimes to just a few days and even prompting doctors to advise not using all pills if patients feel better.
People who’ve gone to the hospital for treatment of a mental health disorder have an increased risk of stroke for months afterward. A study presented to the International Stroke Conference in Houston shows that people going to the hospital for psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD have triple the risk of a stroke in the next month and double the risk for the next year or more. Scientists speculate that mental illness may provoke the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism which can raise blood pressure and stroke risk.
Early risers may be healthier than people who sleep in. A study in the journal Obesity shows that early birds tend to eat more balanced diets than night owls. They also eat earlier in the day, which helps with weight loss and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
And finally, many Americans are working from home at least part of the time and a new poll shows we like it that way. However, a little bit of office camaraderie is a good thing. The Gallup survey finds that 43 percent of employees work remotely at least part of the time and that the most engaged workers are those who spend three to four days a week working from home. People who work in the office all the time or at home all the time are the least engaged employees.
Many people sing badly and think they’re tone deaf, but a surprisingly low proportion of them truly can’t tell one note from another. They not only can’t sing, they also can’t enjoy music, may have trouble with certain forms of language, and may be unable to communicate emotion in their speech.