Stories We're Following This Week

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

Easy Ways to Stay Fit And Still Enjoy the Eggnog



Here's one tip: "Never arrive to a party on an empty stomach." (The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)

Bottom Line: Food is a wonderful part of the holiday season and you should enjoy this time, coming together with family and friends over cherished traditions. The key is to engage in mindful eating. Alternate eggnog with sparkling water. Encourage loved ones to join you on a walk after a heavy meal. CNN Health has even more tips for staying active, including a list of 5 reasons—and fixes—why you might still be gaining weight even though you're exercising more. 

7 Practical Tips for Relieving Holiday Depression



"Snowball and gingerbread cookies seem to stalk you."

—If you feel sad during during the “most wonderful time of the year,” you're not alone. 
Blogger Therese Borchard shares 7 helpful tips for relieving holiday blues. (Everyday Health)

Bottom line: According to research from the American Psychological Association, two-thirds of people say they felt stressed and fatigued during the holidays. As Borchard notes, December is a month filled with equal parts joy and sadness. But by taking care of your body and mind—and giving yourself permission to feel sad, with some perspective—you can make the season a time of thoughtful reflection rather than hopeless depression. We would add that it's crucial to have skilled medical professionals in your arsenal. Share your concerns with your primary care physician, and let him or her help you to find the right-fit specialist for your needs.

What doctors should be doing for cardiac arrest victims



"In Seattle and King County, survival rates for cardiac arrests treated by emergency medical services providers improved... to 19.9 percent. In places like Detroit, the survival rate is about 3 percent."

—Modern treatments have made a tremendous impact on your chances of survival
after cardiac arrest—and yet, too few hospitals use them. (New York Times)

Bottom line: So what are they doing right in Washington? According to the Times, "Seattle and King County’s improvements come from 1. Training E.M.S. providers better; 2. Continually measuring the care they provide, and 3. Spreading awareness that cardiac arrest is a treatable condition, so citizens are quick to perform bystander CPR." In fact, if the rest of the country adopted these practices, it's believed that as many as 30,000 lives annually could be saved. What can you do? For one: perform CPR for as long as you can until medical help arrives. Most people stop after 15 to 20 minutes, but research shows that longer attempts, up to one hour, can lead to survival. Second, learn about the more powerful interventions described in the story, and if you find yourself playing the role of advocate for a loved one in the hospital, demand that medical experts provide these life-saving treatments. Finally, be prepared: read Chapter 7, "Emergency Room 101" in The Patient's Playbook.

Understanding Jimmy Carter's Surprise Cancer Turnaround

"I have good news."

—Former President Jimmy Carter, 91, announced that he is “cancer free” after receiving treatment
for metastatic melanoma that had spread to his brain. (NBC Nightly News)

Bottom Line: This summer, Carter announced that he was receiving treatment at Emory University for Stage IV melanoma. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor in his liver, had radiation treatments that targeted the cancer in his brain, and started taking a new immunotherapy drug called pembrolizumab—brand name Keytruda—which releases the brakes on the immune system, allowing it to mount a stronger attack against cancer. In an enlightening interview with Jedd Wolchok, chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, he explains how Keytruda worked for President Carter and what this means for patients in similar situations.

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