When is stress good for you? How stress works in the human body, to make or break us
March 4, 2018
The subtle flows and toxic hits of stress get under the skin, making and breaking the body and brain over a lifetime.
We need new ways of treating depression
March 4, 2018
The World Health Organization, the leading medical body in the world, explained in 2011: “Mental health is produced socially: The presence or absence of mental health is above all a social indicator and therefore requires social, as well as individual, solutions.” The United Nations’ special rapporteur on the right to health, Dr. Dainius Pūras — one of the leading experts in the world on mental health — explained last April that “the dominant biomedical narrative of depression” is based on “biased and selective use of research outcomes.”
Experts are now looking to the social and environmental causes of the disorder affecting millions.
The Danger of Putting Youth on Antidepressants
January 1, 2018
Why medication shouldn’t be the default treatment for our kids’ mental health.
On World Health Day this year, Dainius Pūras, a doctor and a representative for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, made a powerful statement. By focusing so intently on the biomedical model of treating depression, he argued, we are diverting resources from the “social and underlying determinants” that may have a larger and more lasting effect on mental health: economic injustice, political oppression, social violence. “Mental health services, policymakers, medical students,
To treat back pain, look to the brain not the spine
December 30, 2017
Where pain lives
Fixing chronic back pain is possible only when patients understand how much it is produced by the brain, not the spine
“We always thought of it as acute pain that just goes on and on – and if chronic pain is just a continuation of acute pain, let’s fix the thing that caused the acute, and the chronic should go away,’ … ‘That has spectacularly failed. Now we think of chronic pain as a shift to another place, with different mechanisms, such as changes in genetic expression, chemical release, neurophysiology and wiring. We’ve got all these completely new ways of thinking about chronic pain. That’s the paradigm shift in the pain field.”
Maternal Morbidity Costs Top $3.4 Billion A Year In United States
December 24, 2017
The rate of life-threatening complications for new mothers in the U.S. has more than doubled in two decades as a result of pre-existing conditions, medical errors and unequal access to care.
Source: Maternal Morbidity Costs Top $3.4 Billion A Year In United States : Katherine Ellison and Nina Martin, Propublica & NPR
The Heroism of Incremental Care
April 2, 2017
We devote vast resources to intensive, one-off procedures, while starving the kind of steady, intimate care that often helps people more.
“We have a certain heroic expectation of how medicine works. Following the Second World War, penicillin and then a raft of other antibiotics cured the scourge of bacterial diseases that it had been thought only God could touch. New vaccines routed polio, diphtheria, rubella, and measles. Surgeons opened the heart, transplanted organs, and removed once inoperable tumors. Heart attacks could be stopped; cancers could be cured. A single generation experienced a transformation in the treatment of human illness as no generation had before. It was like discovering that water could put out fire. We built our health-care system, accordingly, to deploy firefighters. Doctors became saviors. But the model wasn’t quite right. If an illness is a fire, many of them require months or years to extinguish, or can be reduced only to a low-level smolder. The treatments may have side effects and complications that require yet more attention. Chronic illness has become commonplace, and we have been poorly prepared to deal with it. Much of what ails us requires a more patient kind of skill.”
Source: The Heroism of Incremental Care – Atul Gawande, The New Yorker