Question: Are you ready for some health news? If you answered yes, you are in the right place because this is Community Health Roundup, your source for the latest in health news and information! If you answered no, well please kick off your shoes and stay awhile because I have compiled quite a collection of health related articles that I know will pique your interest. This week, we are going to learn about what happens when big corporations get into the business of healthcare delivery, strategies Oregon is adopting to combat the opioid epidemic, the results from a study on the health impacts of stop-smoking pills, what happens when one city imposes a soda pop tax, and finally an article about why you should go bananas for bananas if you are working out.
The doctor is in….Aisle 5? With the mergers of big corporations, retail chains, and insurance companies, the landscape of healthcare delivery is changing rapidly. While these changes offer more opportunities to be seen in terms of time, location, and number of offices (which is good), it also impacts continuity of care, runs the risk of running primary care facilities out of business, and creates an unfair playing field between primary care physicians who cannot afford to advertise on the major networks and corporations who can. No matter which side you fall on, this NYT article is well worth your time.
Oregon has seen a 25% reduction of opioid related deaths, which is an astounding number and it begs the question: what has caused this drastic decrease? One answer is that physicians are being trained on the updated opioid prescribing guidelines released in 2016 that alert them to the fact that opioids are only effective for short term pain. Another answer comes in the form of a prescription monitoring database that lets doctors “see whether a patient is shopping for opioids at other clinics. It also allows a doctor to see just how many opioids they’re prescribing, compared to their peers.” Read more about these strategies to combat opioids over at OPB.
Let me be frank (Can I still be Garth? — Citation: Wayne’s World 2), I used to smoke. Like an Industrial Age chimney. To me, there was nothing sweeter than a smoke after a long day at work, or after a long rest, or during a walk, or after dinner, or with a cup of coffee, or riding in pickup truck, or talking with friends, or while fishing, or or or…..So, when I turned 30, I decided it was time for a change and I wanted to take Chantix to stop. Now I asked my doctor, and he was happy I was cleaning up my act, but I was full of apprehension: will my hair fall out, will I get insane dreams, will it impact my heart, will it even work, will I have any number of adverse reactions that one can find in the fine print? Even with all the worry I decided to take the plunge….and it worked miracles (the biggest miracle was my hair didn’t fall out, second was I quit smoking, third was my blood pressure went way down, fourth I walked much much quicker, and fifth I started saving a lot of money). But, when I talk to people about Chantix, there are still many myths associated with taking the pill including crazy dreams, impacts on mental health, and general health concerns. But, new research, part of which was published in JAMA, is helping to dispel two sets of those rumors associated with taking Chantix and another stop-smoking pill Zyban. What they found is that these pills do not increase “risks for sever psychiatric problems” and they “are as safe for the heart as nicotine patches and dummy pills”. Read more about the study here.
What happens when a city imposes a tax on soda pop? Well, many things can happen. But in Philadelphia they saw that people were “40% less likely to drink a soda pop every day”. They also saw that people were “58% more likely to purchase bottled water every day”. While the results are still from the early stage of the implementation of the new tax, the results are promising and are going to be fascinating to watch in the coming years. Read more about the study here.
If you are going to reach for that sports drink to refuel yourself during a long run, bike ride, or workout, this next article may make you think twice. Research out of the University of North Carolina and Appalachian State University found that people who are exercising should reach for a delicious banana instead of a yummy sports drink to help aid muscle recovery. Read more about the study here (which was partially funded by Dole).