Author Archives: Linda Riddell

Newton’s law goes to the hospital

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, 1687. When Newton penned his laws of motion in the late 1600s, he was surely not thinking of surprise hospital inspections.  (Hospitals date back to 350 … Continue reading

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Butterflies & Birth Control

Which of the following seems least ridiculous? A butterfly flapping its wings can set off a hurricane. Birth control pills and patches cause depression. Clearly, the birth-control-pill-depression connection seems plausible yet it is very similar to the butterfly example.  It … Continue reading

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NIH Budget Cut – Just what the doctor ordered?

The proposed 20% cut to the National Institutes of Health budget would spark much less furor if we clearly differentiated “health” from “medical care”.  More medical care – more advanced, more techy, more whatever – does not bring more health … Continue reading

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More choices, less happiness

On a hot summer ice-cream-craving day, would you choose the shop that has three flavors of ice cream or the one with three dozen?  If you want to be satisfied with your choice, you go to – surprise – the … Continue reading

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It that-must-not-be-named

There is a creeping, stealthy (some might say sinister) movement that just might change the face of health insurance in the United States.  It will continue as long as we do not say its name aloud, like Lord What’s-His-Name at … Continue reading

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The Jetsons Meet Alternative Medicine

Don’t get me wrong – I can enjoy a kale mango turmeric smoothie as much as the next guy.  But I’m no hipster when it comes to alternative medicine.  The real name for it should be “unstudied medicine”, and the … Continue reading

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Tinkerbell Meets Health Policy

Tinkerbell is rescued from near death by the audience clapping their hands showing their faithful belief in her.  The “Tinkerbell effect” describes things that exist only because we agree to believe in them –like the value of dollar bills or … Continue reading

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Small & Exciting or Big & Boring

Two hot investments for you to consider: Start-Up Ace’s product adds 10 or more years of longevity for most people and a very broad group of people are candidates. It improves not only the person’s health status, but also their … Continue reading

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“Stop Smoking” stopped working

The link between lung cancer and smoking was confirmed in the 1940s.  The surgeon general’s warning was put onto cigarette packs in 1966.  And the deluge of stop-smoking messages has only grown ever since.  So, why do three times as … Continue reading

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As easy as 1, 2, 250000

Counting is not Sesame Street easy in population health science.  Case in point: in 1999, a study concluded that medical errors in the United States hospitals were killing 98,000 people a year, the equivalent of two jumbo jet crashes per … Continue reading

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