Stories We're Following This Week

News + Insights from around the Web + The Patient's Playbook Bottom Line. 


8 Ways to Change Your Life This Year

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Thinkstock

Making New Year's resolutions? Prevention devised one of the most helpful lists we've seen, with straightforward and practical tips for losing weight, improving your memory, adding real meaning to your life and more...

Here's another tip: For better health in 2016, don't go it alone. Enlist the support of family, friends, and your primary care physician. Your doctor can help push you to lose weight, quit smoking, reduce stress and achieve other important wellness goals. For tips on partnering with your physician, see our checklist of 7 Must-Ask Questions for your next primary care visit.


2015's Biggest Medical Breakthroughs

Melanoma, The most serious Form of Skin Cancer  (THINKSTOCK)

Melanoma, The most serious Form of Skin Cancer  (THINKSTOCK)

"This year has seen the dawn of gene editing, the rise of immunotherapy and the first hints of a drug to slow the pace of Alzheimer's disease."

—Advances in lung cancer and melanoma treatment are also among the many successes that have made 2015 a transformative year in medicine. (BBC News)

Bottom Line: Biomedical breakthroughs of the last year point to a future in which patients have more effective treatment options, less pain and suffering, and more time to spend doing the things that bring them joy. But to reap the benefits, you really need to entrust your care to specialists who have expertise in your specific problem. For tips on finding medical experts who are up to date on the latest treatment discoveries for your disease, see Leslie's interview in Robb Report magazine.


The 7 Stories They Couldn't Forget 

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Thinkstock

“There are so many women who have lost their careers over taking care of a kid with Type 1 diabetes.” 

—Looking back on a tremendous year in medical and health news, 7 reporters from The New York Times pick the one story that stuck with them the most. (NYT)

Bottom Line: From the Ebola crisis in Africa that hit home in a big way, to the frightening rise of Type 1 diabetes in U.S. school children—these incredible stories compel us to dig deeper, seek better solutions, and question the ways of our fractured health care system. And that's the mission of The Patient's Playbook, too: To empower patients to become competent and courageous medical consumers. When we take back our power as consumers, we become the drivers of change.


Top 10 Well-Being Discoveries of 2015

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Thinkstock

Here's #3: Nearly 2 in 10 Americans say they take drugs to relax almost every day...Southern states make up six of the top 10 highest drug use states. 

—Analytics giant Gallup published nearly 60 articles in 2015 about Americans' health and well-being. Here are its top 10 most important findings of the year. (Gallup)

Bottom Line: Also among the findings: Good news for those who sleep in, bad news for tobacco companies, and clear signs that heart attack survivors may not be making necessary lifestyle changes. This fascinating year-end report provides a snapshot of the progress we've made as a nation and the sobering challenges ahead.


Q&A: Here's What You Need to Know ABout Expired Meds — Plus: How to Toss Them

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Thinkstock

"Are there any medications that I should never, ever use beyond their expiration dates?"

—Yes, absolutely. AARP reveals which ones, and provides advice on the safe storage and disposal of your medications.

Bottom line: Now is the perfect time to sort through and clean out your medicine cabinet. AARP provides simple tips that will help to ensure your medications are effective and safe.


Got a great story we should be following? Let us know in the comments below.