Daily Rounds: Fattening Potatoes; Exhausted Residents; Data-Mining Decision; Health Care Confusion

Extra pounds are linked to potatoes - "Weight gain and potatoes work well together, maybe even better than butter and potatoes — or oil and potatoes in the case of French fries. Such seems to be the suggestion of new research concluding that a daily extra serving of spuds, no matter the form, adds up to 1.3 pounds over the course of four years. An additional serving of nuts, fruit or vegetables, on the other hand, will add up to weight loss. The researchers, who published their results in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine, broke that down further into the effect – over four years – of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes (0.6 pounds), potato chips (1.7 pounds) and French fries (a whopping 3.6 pounds)." (Los Angeles Times)

Resident doctors still work too long: report | Reuters (Reuters) - "First-year residents may soon get a reprieve from grueling hospital shifts that last more than 24 hours, but that is not enough to prevent an alarming number of medical errors, according to a report released on Friday. Starting July 1, new rules will require first-year residents to work shifts no longer than 16 straight hours. But that will not spare more experienced residents from working as long as 28 hours at a stretch. A group of 26 doctors and patient safety experts are calling for limiting all resident physician work to shifts of 12 to 16 hours. Their report was published on Friday in the journal Nature & Science of Sleep journal." (Reuters)

Drug Marketing and Free Speech - "The Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for states to protect medical privacy with laws that regulate such practices. In 2007, Vermont passed a law that forbade the sale of such records by pharmacies and their use for marketing purposes. The ruling upheld a lower court decision that struck down the law as unconstitutional. The law would have been upheld, Justice Breyer says, if the court had treated it as a restriction on commercial speech, which is less robustly protected than political speech. The court’s majority unwisely narrows the gap between commercial and political speech, and makes it harder to protect consumers." (

To Curb Childhood Obesity, Experts Say Keep Baby Fat In Check : Shots - Health Blog : NPR "The number of overweight kids and adolescents in the U.S. has almost tripled since the 1980s. That's pretty troubling, but the Institute of Medicine says we need to be paying more attention to the littlest kids: those under five. Almost 10 percent of babies and toddlers carry too much weight for their size. And more than 20 percent of children 2 through 5 are already overweight, the IOM says, which could have pretty serious repercussions later in life."

Survey: 75% of Consumers Do Not Understand How Healthcare System Works | News & Analysis "A recent survey found 75 percent of consumers' do not have a firm understanding of how the healthcare system works, according to the survey from Deloitte. Three in four say the recent economic downturn has influenced their healthcare spending — 41 percent are being more cautious about it, 20 percent have cut back and 13 percent have reduced it considerably. Of the 25 percent of consumers who skipped a visit to their physician when sick or injured, 49 percent did so due to costs. Consumers blame redundant paperwork (55 percent), individuals not taking responsibility for their own health (49 percent), defensive medicine (46 percent), lack of adherence to evidence-based approaches (40 percent), and extreme measures taken at the end of life to extend life for a short period of time (35 percent) as the top causes for wasteful spending." (

Top Expert: Disputed McKinsey Health Care Study Akin To Push Poll | TPMDC "One of the nation's foremost experts on survey writing compared McKinsey & Company's controversial health care study to a push poll, calling into further question whether its results can be trusted as even a snapshot of employer sentiment."There is no doubt that the answers one would get after priming respondents the way they did would be expected to include more expressed interest in the possibility of not insuring employees than a question asked in a nonprimed context," said Floyd Fowler, a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Survey Research at University of Massachusetts, Boston, and author of the book Survey Research Methods." (


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