The Myth of the Medical-Device Tax

IN the last few days of negotiations in Congress, repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s tax on medical devices emerged as a key Republican demand. The medical-device industry waged an intense lobbying campaign — even garnering the support of many Democrats who favored the law — arguing that the tax would stifle innovation and increase health care costs.

This argument is doubly disingenuous. Not only can the medical-device industry easily afford the tax without compromising innovation, but the industry’s enormous profits are a result of anticompetitive practices that themselves drive up medical-device costs unnecessarily. The tax is a distraction from reforms to the industry that are urgently needed to lower health care costs. More

The Challenge of Diabetes for Doctor and Patient

These two patients highlighted the outsized role that diabetes plays in the primary care setting. The tidal wave of diabetes over the last two decades has made it one of the most common diseases that internists and family doctors treat. Right now feels like a good-news-bad-news time on the diabetes front, which in a general medical clinic can sometimes feel like the only front there is. More

This article appeared in the October 20, 2013 issue of The New York Times Magazine.

If you consider yourself to be a born morning person or an inveterate night owl, there is new research that supports your desire to wake up early or stay up late. Each of us has a personal “chronotype,” or unique circadian rhythm, says Till Roenneberg, a professor of chronobiology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and one of the world’s experts on sleep. In broad strokes, these chronotypes are usually characterized as early, intermediate or late, corresponding to people who voluntarily go to bed and wake early, at a moderate hour or vampirishly late. If you are forced to wake up earlier than your body naturally would, you suffer from what Roenneberg calls “social jet lag.”


Whooping Cough Risk Higher Among Kids Who Miss Vaccinations: Study

It’s important to get all doses without delay, researchers say

Should You Eat Chicken?

Meanwhile … should you eat chicken? That’s your call.  More.

Nevada epidemiologist: Deaths of young mother, baby have put tuberculosis back on radar

The winning battle against tuberculosis in the United States may, ironically, be part of the reason why the disease wasn’t detected in a young Las Vegas mother and her baby until it was too late, experts said.

A leading cause of death in the early 20th century, the airborne illness most associated with a bad cough has declined in the U.S. to the lowest levels since record-keeping began 60 years ago. Tuberculosis claimed 569 lives in the U.S. in 2010, meaning fewer and fewer doctors have experience treating or recognizing it, especially in otherwise healthy young patients.

“This idea that young people don’t get it is wrong,” said Dr. Ihsan Azzam, Nevada’s state epidemiologist. “It’s now on the radar again. We thought this was eliminated in our country, but there’s now a resurgence of the disease.” More.

Falls tied to post-op complications in older people

The number of falls older people take before surgery may help predict their health during recovery, says a new study. Researchers found that older people who reported falling during the six months before heart or bowel surgery had more complications than people who reported no falls. More @ Reuters Health.

A Guide to Affordable Dental Care for seniors

A new Web site,, aims to make it easier for older adults and their caregivers to find low-cost dental care nationwide by raising awareness of the patchwork quilt of available services. The site’s state-by-state map lays out a wide variety of options, from Connecticut agencies that make dental referrals to community dental clinics in Washington State. More.

Experts advocate flu shots, expose myths

Flu ShotsYou can’t get the flu from a flu shot, doctors say.

Here are the facts, not the fiction: