Doctors: You’ve Detailed Your Last Wishes, but Doctors May Not See Them

Supported by Well | Live You’ve Detailed Your Last Wishes, but Doctors May Not See Them Photo Credit Stuart Bradford This is not how it was supposed to happen.
I was working overnight when my pager sounded, alerting me to an admission to the intensive care unit. I logged on to the computer and clicked on the patient’s chart, scanning the notes that tracked his decline. First there was a cancer diagnosis, too far gone for cure, then surgery, recurrence, surgery, and finally, a discharge home. The elderly man had been found there earlier that evening, pale, feverish and too confused to communicate.
Now he was in the emergency department, his breaths ragged. “There’s no family around. We’re probably going to have to intubate,” the emergency room doctor told me when I called him to learn more about the patient. I sighed, wondering what this man would have wanted, if only he could tell us.
I was surprised when, a few seconds after I hung up the phone, one of the doctors in training tap..

A Hitler-Era Abortion Law Haunts Merkel, and Germany

Supported by Europe A Hitler-Era Abortion Law Haunts Merkel, and Germany Photo A protest in Berlin last week in support of a Polish women’s national strike against the tightening of abortion law in Poland. Germany is wrestling with its own Nazi-era abortion restrictions. Credit Omer Messinger/EPA, via Shutterstock BERLIN — She was an obscure gynecologist in a central German town who never intended to stoke a debate that is driving a wedge into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government.
But faced with a fine under a Nazi-era law for publishing information about abortion on the website of her gynecological practice, Kristina Hänel said she had no choice but to publicize a prohibition that she calls “outdated and unnecessary.”
The law, paragraph 219a of the German criminal code, makes it a crime for doctors to publicly advertise in any way that they perform abortions, even though they are permitted in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. For decades, the advertising ban was largely overl..

The Future Issue: You, Only Better

You, Only Better Dave Asprey does not like infomercials. He didn’t want our conversation to feel like one, he said, raising both hands in a gesture of innocence, like a magician showing there was nothing up his sleeve. But once he planted the suggestion, it wouldn’t go away. There was the register of his voice, oscillating between breathy and enthusiastic, and the complete absence of qualifiers to soften his bold claims. And then there were the wares clustered on the table in front of him. He had laid out cups of his signature product, Bulletproof Coffee, which is made with grass-fed butter and Brain Octane, a trademarked oil extracted from coconuts. Next to the cups lay Bulletproof-branded protein bars in chocolate and vanilla. ‘‘I am not plugging my stuff,’’ he said with a semi-embarrassed laugh. ‘‘I’m just talking about how things work.’’
And this is how things work for Asprey, according to his claims: By experimenting on his own body, he found a diet to end all diets, one that enco..

Hearing Loss May Make You Accident Prone

Supported by Well | Live Hearing Loss May Make You Accident Prone Photo People with poor hearing are at increased risk for accidents, a new study reports.
Using a nationwide health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that of 232.2 million adults, 15.7 percent reported hearing problems; 2.8 percent were injured in an accident within three months of the survey date.
The study, in JAMA Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery, tracked injuries related to driving, work, and leisure or sports.
For all three categories, the risk of injury increased steadily with hearing loss, although slightly less consistently with driving accidents. Over all, compared with those who rated their hearing “excellent,” those with a little trouble hearing were 60 percent more likely to have been injured, with moderate trouble 70 percent more likely, and with a lot of trouble 90 percent more likely.
The authors acknowledge that the study depended on self-repo..

Fitness in Midlife May Help Fend Off Dementia

Supported by Well | Mind Fitness in Midlife May Help Fend Off Dementia Photo Being physically fit in midlife may reduce a woman’s risk for dementia.
In 1968, Swedish researchers evaluated the cardiovascular fitness of 191 women ages 38 to 60, testing their endurance with an ergometer cycling test. Then they examined them periodically through 2012. Over the years, 44 women developed dementia.
They categorized the women into three fitness groups based on peak workload in their cycling tests: low, medium and high. The incidence of all-cause dementia was 32 percent in the low fitness group, 25 percent for the medium, and 5 percent among those with a high fitness level.
The average age at dementia was 11 years older in the high-fitness group than in the medium fitness group. Compared with medium fitness, high fitness decreased the risk of dementia by 88 percent.
The study, in Neurology, controlled for many variables, including smoking, drinking, blood pressure and cholesterol, and the ..

4,000 Eggs and Embryos Are Lost in Tank Failure, Ohio Fertility Clinic Says

Supported by U.S. 4,000 Eggs and Embryos Are Lost in Tank Failure, Ohio Fertility Clinic Says Photo Amber and Elliott Ash with their son, Ethan. The couple, who say they had two embryos at a fertility clinic run by University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the hospital. Credit Ash family, via Associated Press The “catastrophic” failure of a storage tank this month at an Ohio fertility clinic caused the apparent loss of more than 4,000 frozen embryos and eggs, the clinic said this week.
About 950 patients were affected by the failure, in which the tank’s temperature rose and an alarm did not go off, the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, which oversees the clinic, said in a letter that was sent to patients on Monday and posted on its website.
“We are heartbroken to tell you that it’s unlikely any are viable,” the letter said.
The letter was an update to an announcement on March 8 that the tissue storage bank where eggs and ..

Ask Well: Do Face Masks Really Keep You Healthy?

Supported by Well | Live Do Face Masks Really Keep You Healthy? Photo Credit iStock Q. How effective are antimicrobial “courtesy masks” at preventing the spread of contagious airborne illnesses?
A. The best evidence suggests that, when sick, wearing a mask can help to protect others from getting sick. And when well, wearing a mask around those who are sick will probably decrease your own chances of becoming infected. But the masks are far from foolproof.
Courtesy masks, or what we doctors refer to as surgical masks, were introduced into the operating room in the late 1800s. They quickly became popular among a public eager to protect itself against the influenza pandemic of 1918.
A century later, the advent of modern molecular techniques confirmed that surgical masks can indeed provide good protection against flu. In a 2013 study, researchers counted the number of virus particles in the air around patients with flu. They found that surgical masks decreased the exhalation of large v..