Link Love: Should You Believe Everything You Read?

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News Flash: We’re All Going to Die

Regularly sifting through health headlines that highlight the results of the latest studies can be mind-boggling: One day Echinacea is the cure-all for colds, the next day it’s out. One day coffee is good for brain health, the next day it increases heart disease. What should you believe?

This week’s Opinionator blog on The New York Times offers a healthy perspective (no pun intended) about contextualizing the enormous amounts of data we get from health studies every day. It poses the question, “Do such studies represent a significant body of knowledge that I should pay attention to?” And writer, Gary Gutting, explains the difference between randomized clinical trials vs. observational studies.

In the end, Gutting suggests that our obsession with the latest, greatest health advice stems from our universal fear of death. In his view, a more reasonable way to approach your health might be to accept the truth that we’re all going to die and to stick to the simple, reliable rules of health: Eat right, exercise, have your regular medical tests and exams. What do you think? Do you agree with Gutting?

Teen Inspiration

Men’s Health usually follows it’s own simple recipe for health (gym, sex, protein shakes), but this week they feature an inspiring interview with a young gymnast who lost his leg to cancer. Two and half years into his recovery, 21-year-old Adam Starr went back to the gym to master moves most of us only dream of – like back tucks – on one leg. The video he posted on YouTube is awe-inspiring — as is his attitude: When asked what he’s learned from his experience, he told Men’s Health, “It’s really easy to just sit on the couch especially when you have an excuse like an amputation. I’ve done my best to take advantage of everything that I’m able to do.”

Sex-Ed in New York Schools

New York City public schools are adding city-sanctioned sex education classes to their curriculum. The decision is part of a measure announced by Mayor Bloomberg’s office last week aimed at improving the lives of black and Latino teenagers. Linda I. Gibbs, the deputy mayor for health and human services told The New York Times, “It’s obviously something that applies to all boys and all girls. But when we look at the biggest disadvantages that kids in our city face, it is blacks and Latinos that are most affected by the consequences of early sexual behavior and unprotected sex.” The curriculum will teach children about a range of sexual health-related topics, from puberty to anatomy to birth control methods, to the risks of unprotected sex. Parents have the option of having their children opt out of the lessons about birth control.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.