Want to Live Longer and Healthier? Peter Attia Has a Plan.

“In his telling, Medicine 2.0 is oriented toward addressing the four chronic diseases of aging that will probably be the cause of most of our deaths, but only after they become problems. (Those chronic diseases are heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and related neurodegenerative diseases and Type 2 diabetes and related metabolic dysfunction.) Medicine 3.0, though, aims to proactively prevent those things for as long as possible and allow us to maintain better health deeper into old age. How exactly? Not through any techno-fantasies of biohacking or wonder-drug supplements but largely with highly rigorous, detailed and personalized monitoring and treatment of our nutrition, … Read More

The Curious Side Effects of Medical Transparency

“Transparency has always been seen as a hallmark of honesty and integrity. The logic is familiar: democracies aspire to be transparent, but dictatorships are opaque; faithful spouses are guileless, while philanderers lie; reputable businesses operate in the open, but shady operations literally draw the shades. Collectively, we’ve embraced Louis Brandeis’s dictum that sunlight is the best disinfectant. We demand transparency in government, charitable institutions, nutrition labels, and middle-school grading rubrics. The medical record should be no different. [..] In 2008, Ethan Bernstein, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, travelled with a team of students to a vast mobile-phone-manufacturing plant … Read More

Psychedelics Open Your Brain. You Might Not Like What Falls In.: Reshaping your mind isn’t always a great idea.

“Psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, and Ecstasy, along with anesthetics such as ketamine, can enhance a user’s neuroplasticity within hours of administration. In fact, some users take psychedelics for the express purpose of making their brain a little more malleable. Just drop some acid, the thinking goes, and your brain will rewire itself—you’ll be smarter, fitter, more creative, and self-aware. You might even get a transcendent experience. Popular media abound with anecdotes suggesting that microdosing LSD or psilocybin can expand divergent thinking, a more free and associative type of thinking that some psychologists link with creativity. Research suggests … Read More

Learning to Focus Without Medication: People with ADHD often rely on stimulants like Adderall, but behavioral techniques can be just as effective in dealing with distraction

Excerpt – In a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research in 2019, researchers divided 124 participants with ADHD into two groups. One group received 12 weekly sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone, while the other received CBT paired with medication. CBT focuses on breaking down long-term goals into workable steps and also on self-motivation, stress management and thinking more adaptively. The study found that the CBT-only group experienced the same significant improvement in ADHD symptom as the group that had also received medication. “Pills don’t teach skills,” said Dr. J. Russell Ramsay, a professor and co-director of the … Read More

Should we trust Apple with mental health data?

“the new coaching service — codenamed Quartz — sounds like an expansion of the Apple Watch play from physical health to mental health, Bloomberg reported. It is “designed to keep users motivated to exercise, improve eating habits and help them sleep better” using “AI and data from an Apple Watch to make suggestions and create coaching programs tailored to specific users.” [..] About five years ago, I wrote about the various ways that the Apple Watch failed as a behavioral intervention. There’s some behavioral science, but also — because I was using it — I discovered that the constant nudging for achievement made me miserable. … Read More

‘There’s a huge fatphobia problem in the eating disorder world’: Even in treatment, weight stigma fails patients

“There is little consensus about how to protect young people seeking treatment for eating disorders from harmful ideas about weight, or whether treatments for obesity and eating disorders can safely coexist at all within the medical system. And while the vast majority of eating disorder professionals would never prescribe weight loss to somebody recovering from an eating disorder, each clinician’s approach to treatment is affected by their individual beliefs about, and understanding of, obesity. The strong disagreements within the profession about how to best address obesity and weight stigma may leave patients susceptible to inappropriate or harmful care. [..] Clinicians … Read More

Why involuntary treatment for addiction is a dangerous idea

“When I first started out in addiction medicine to now, I thought that this made sense as a last-ditch approach [involuntary commitment]. But my thinking has changed as I’ve seen the clear evidence of its lack of benefit and heard stories and observed data indicating its harm. I also know intimately the feeling of powerlessness that comes with being a close family member to someone dealing with addiction. When I see medical professionals and loved ones reaching to involuntary treatment as a solution, I know it is out of a desperate wish to do something, anything, to respond to the … Read More

Is There Still Free Will in Addiction?

“Was my brain hijacked by drugs — or was I willfully choosing to risk it all for a few hours of selfish pleasure? What makes people continue taking drugs like street fentanyl, which put them at daily risk of death? These questions are at the heart of drug policy and the way we view and treat addiction. But simplistic answers have stymied efforts to ameliorate drug use disorders and reduce stigma. Research now shows that addiction doesn’t ‌‌mean either being completely subject to irresistible impulses, or making totally free choices. Addiction’s effects on decision-making are complex. Understanding them can help … Read More

How the FDA Can Improve Public Health — Helping People Stop Smoking

“Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of illness and death in the United States. One in eight U.S. adults smoke, with the highest prevalence among some of the groups that are affected by the greatest health inequities. Although most people who smoke are aware of the associated health risks and want to quit, many are unable to do so because of nicotine dependence. [..] Although studies show higher rates of successful quitting among people who use a medication approved for smoking cessation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only one third of people use evidence-based cessation treatments when … Read More

Black Smokers at Center of New York Fight to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

“Well intentioned as the [proposed menthol-flavored cigarette] ban may be, it has angered some Black leaders, including a group of ministers who have rallied against Ms. Hochul’s proposal because they worry it could increase encounters between Black people and the police if menthol cigarettes were to go underground and authorities crack down on sellers. Other Black opponents of the ban suggest it may be discriminatory, a heavy-handed crackdown on the preferred nicotine fix of Black smokers, even if African American men have the highest rates of lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some smokers said that if the … Read More