5 Things to Read on Improving Health

This week’s reads on improving health cover new treatment guidelines for stroke, perspective on the value of preventive health services and more.

New stroke guidelines could mean more lives saved

Doctors have a much longer window after patients suffer strokes to remove blood clots and prevent death or disability, according to new research that compelled the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to revise its treatment guidelines. It was previously believed that doctors had only six hours to restore blood flow to the brain. The new recommendations are “going to have a massive impact on how stroke is triaged and assessed,” the lead author of the study told the Washington Post. Get more details here.

Tackle foodborne illness prevention before the big game

It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday, and that means football and food-filled parties. The United States Department of Agriculture released tips on how to avoid spreading foodborne sicknesses during the festivities. Learn more here.

‘Pain is part of life’

In the midst of a raging opioid epidemic in America, the author of a New York Times opinion piece shares how German doctors urged her to use pain as her guide after a major surgery, and refused her pleas for prescription-strength painkillers. Read her journey through pain and healing.

Baby boomers bear the brunt of this flu season

We are roughly nine weeks in to a particularly harsh flu season. As usual, people ages 65 and older have been hit the hardest, but this year younger baby boomers and older Gen Xers are next, rather than children.  A doctor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes people ages 50-64 may have less immunity to this particular flu strain because they weren’t exposed to it when they were younger. Read NPR’s story here, and don’t forget: Flu shots are still available.

Preventive services may not save money, but do improve quality of life

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll writes that spending more on many preventive services doesn’t, as conventional wisdom goes, save money in the long run. However, he concludes: “Prevention improves outcomes. It makes people healthier. It improves quality of life. It often does so for a very reasonable price.” Read his take here. 

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