News and Views

The USDA announced last week that on-line providers of fresh food would begin participating in a pilot study with the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). The retailers include Amazon, FreshDirect, Safeway, ShopRite, HyVee, Hart’s Local Grocers and Dash’s Market.

The primary purpose of SNAP is to prevent hunger and promote food security using the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan, a diet minimizing cost while satisfying nutritional requirements and limits, as the model for determining a financial benefit. SNAP provides electronic benefit transfer cards (EBT) to redeem eligible food items at nearly 250,000 retailers with few restrictions.

SNAP eligibility is based upon financial need (income less than 130% of poverty level). In 2016 it provided benefits to 44.2...

Recently a breast cancer awareness campaign has been popping up on women's Facebook messengers, including my own.

The idea behind it is that we ought to post a simple 'heart' as our status to 'secretly' show support for the continued battle against breast cancer. Hundreds — if not thousands — of women have done this in the past week or so, prompting follow-up questions about the message behind the images from Facebook friends. 

Let me be clear: If this is your way of showing support for breast cancer, so be it. And while the idea is well-intentioned, we women are doing a great disservice to ourselves — and our lady lumps...

In a world where optics, buzzwords and marketing magic carry as much meaning if not more than — it seems— the actual validity of the core concept or technology, nothing baffles me more than how a Theranos was able to rise and fall so precipitously and garner a multi-billion dollar valuation. Or, raise such capital at all from the start.  

Fundamentally, the company’s promise of “groundbreaking finger-stick technology" was the reinvention or rebranding of an existing technology:  the microtainer (aka the pediatric bullet).  I will get to that shortly.

The power of marketing or a good story that can sell is likely what...

A naturopath is not a physician, should not be able to substitute for one, act like one or even play one on TV.

However, in the last few weeks, the Massachusetts legislature passed bill 2335 "An Act establishing a board of registration in naturopathy," that will give the profession of naturopaths legitimacy - one of the worst moves that they could have made for the health of the people of the "bay state."   

The heart of the bill designates that a board will be instituted to determine the role of naturopaths and define their abilities and limits. The five person board will be...

If this trend continues, Canadians may someday have more access to sugar than they have to ice skating. 

New government research shows that when it comes to packaged foods and beverages sold in Canada, two of every three items contain added sugar of some kind. That jarring news comes from a joint report by Public Health Ontario and the University of Waterloo, made public today. 

The labels of more than 40,000 products "sold at national supermarket chains of a major Canadian grocery retailer" in March of 2015 were analyzed, in an effort to identify any of 30 terms that indicated the presence of sugar, "everything from sugar to dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose and fruit juice concentrate," states a...

Basic —but vital—needs being met contribute significantly to overall health and well-being.  They play a substantial role in disease prevention, maintenance and the success of many therapeutic interventions. 

A well-balanced diet, sufficient sleep, routine exercise and social connection are core tenets that empower us to go out into the world each and every day.  These necessary tools of daily living serve to improve our physical and mental health.  

Sex is also considered an essential component of life and wellness.  Touch, intimacy and the resultant pleasurable physiologic responses bestow a number of benefits and facilitate the ability for us to participate in the experience of being human.  

Though most research in the United States tends to emphasize the...

Mention the word "selfie" and the prevaling thought is usually one, to some degree, of self-indulgence.

The act of photographing oneself can often appear as being both superfluous and superficial, which is why a study focusing on the behavior behind this popular and growing behavior might be perceived as pointless, rather than productive.

But if one can get past the bubblehead-type perceptions, there's value in understanding why the selfie has become a global phenomenon, and what in human nature drives billions of people to engage in such behavior. In fact, it's so consuming that more than 125...

Starting off with one broad (but bulletproof) generalization, the folks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are a pretty sharp bunch. They can analyze and project and theorize with the best of them, using computer models to do anything and everything – and much, much more often than not they leave those of us enamored with science and math in a wonderous, awe-inducing state.

But – and after that introduction, you knew a "but" was coming – on rare occasions all that supercharged brain power gets tripped up by the darnest things.

So in response to a new MIT study projecting that innovative carpooling on the streets of New York City can create unimaginable reductions and euphoric efficiencies in taxi traffic, may I politely suggest that those brilliant researchers...

Atul Gawande popularized the concept of medical ‘hot spotting” - originally, hot spotting was the practice of focusing on known crime areas and it became vital for reducing crime in New York City - to health matters in a 2011 article in the New Yorker. Medical hot spotting was using data to identify patterns (models) to identify which groups can be targeted for further intervention pr even prevention. Ben Green, et al., in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine, extend hot spotting in a new direction, to rampant gun violence in Chicago, so I am wading...

In a span of 72 hours, the Cleveland Clinic has fallen from being regarded as one of the top medical institutions in the country to a near 'trending topic' on twitter (and the hashtags are not good.)

At the center of the backlash is a blog post written by the medical director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Dr. Daniel Neides. The details of the post have been described, and appropriately challenged, in full detail by our own Dr. Josh Bloom in his article, The Fool at The Cleveland Clinic.  

In essence, the blog post was a bunch of anti-science quackery as Dr. Neides opined on toxins, chemicals and food.

But, what caught people's...