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


What Is Sepsis?

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“Between one in eight and one in four patients with sepsis will die during hospitalization – as most notably Muhammad Ali did." 

—Sepsis is the most expensive cause of hospitalization in the U.S., and the
most common cause of ICU admission among older Americans. (The Conversation

Bottom Line: Sepsis is a serious medical condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection that leads to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis affects more than 1 million Americans every year, contributing to 258,000 deaths a year. Alarmingly, fewer than half of all adult Americans know what sepsis is. The earlier sepsis is treated, the better chance of survival—so know the warning signs: S (shivering, fever or very cold) E (extreme pain or discomfort) P (pale or discolored skin) S (sleepy or confused) I ("I feel like I might die") S (short of breath).


No More Excuses, Guys.
Here are Your 6 Father's Day Health Tips

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"Guys often believe that if you 'feel fine,' there’s no reason to go to the doctor. But anyone can feel normal with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or abnormal blood sugar levels.”

—Men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year, 
and 22% more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests. (Everyday Health)

Bottom Line: In a fitting lead up to Father's Day, June 13-June 19 marks Men's Health Week. Sadly, some men have a lot of "reasons" to put off seeing a doctor. No more excuses, guys. When you adopt these 6 healthy lifestyle tips, and get regular health screenings, you're ensuring many more years of hand-painted mugs, ill-fitting ties, and other Father's Day treasures.


Big cures have big costs.
Here are the questions to ask

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“(Cancer) drugs can often be upward of $100,000 for a course of treatment, depending on how long you stay on the drug.”

—Cancer treatment costs are expected to hit $150 billion by 2020.
Doctors say survival benefits need to be factored into treatment decisions. (Business Insider)

Bottom Line: More than 70 new cancer treatments have been launched in the past five years. But there are costs to consider, as in the example of Keytruda, a $12,500 a month drug that helped President Jimmy Carter beat back metastatic melanoma. Yet not all patients respond as successfully as he did. Which is why it's important to discuss with your physician: How much survival benefit might this treatment afford, and How does that square with your personal values about quality of life? As this insightful article suggests, "everything is contextual" when it comes to deciding on treatment. 


The Mistrust of Science

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"When you see several or all of these tactics deployed, you know that you’re not dealing with a scientific claim anymore."

—In Atul Gawande’s commencement address at California Institute of Technology,
he urges students to expose the bad science tactics that being used to mislead people. (The New Yorker)

Bottom Line: Recent studies show a deeply alarming trend: Despite increasing education levels, the public’s trust in the scientific community has been decreasing. What can we do to bolster our understanding of well-founded science? As Gawande asserts in this delightful read, simply rebutting bad science is proven to be ineffective. Instead, we must (1) assert the true facts of good science, with helpful narrative to explain them; and (2) expose the bad science tactics and patterns, so that individuals can better judge for themselves.