Health

THE ASPEN LECTURE When Experts Disagree: The Art of Medical Decision-Making

Despite medical advances and the application of scientific principles to modern medicine, there seems to be increasing controversy about the “right” diagnostic and treatment choices, even for very common medical issues – such as how best to treat high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, whether to take vitamins, especially vitamin D, and who should be screened for cancer with mammograms and PSA. And the debate is very public, fomenting confusion with almost daily stories in the media. Why are experts disagreeing? Why isn't there a clear “right” answer? And what support do patients need to make decisions in the face of such controversy?

Jerome Groopman, Pamela Hartzband

Colorado's "Right to Try" Law: A Lifeline or False Hope?

Colorado’s new “right-to-try” law, signed in May, allows terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs without federal approval. Similar legislation is being considered in other states. Supporters call it a ray of hope for people with few alternatives, while skeptics argue that the hopes could be false and the suffering worsened. The US Food and Drug Administration already has compassionate-use mechanisms in place, but action at the state level is a first. What are the clinical and ethical implications of Colorado’s action? Are states usurping federal authority? What are the rights of dying people here?

Elliot Gerson, Joe Garcia, Diane E. Meier

Amanda Boxtel, Bridging Bionics Foundation

Many people already use prosthetics to get around; now robotics is becoming another way to help people move. It’s already the case for a Basalt resident, Amanda Boxtel, who’s been paralyzed below her pelvis for decades. Boxtel is Executive Director of the Bridging Bionics Foundation. She says it’s been important to her to aim for the best quality of life possible. She talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Stanford University School of Medicine

Research around mouse blood has been making the rounds in the news media lately. It even got a moment on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me earlier this month. Scientist and neurology professor Tom Rando is a key player in that research. He’s Director of the Glenn Laboratories for the Biology of Aging at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Rando spoke with APR’s Elise Thatcher, and says the blood research has taken nearly a decade.

Aspen Institute

There’s a big push to get kids more physically active, but some kids are already playing sports regularly-- maybe even too often. As part of our spring series on key health issues, Tom Farrey talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher. He writes for ESPN and directs the Sports and Society program at the Aspen Institute. Farrey says there’s growing concern about kids overdoing it.

Brent James/ Institute for Health Care Delivery Research

The Affordable Care Act has changed a lot for doctors and other medical professionals. There are new insurance requirements, potentially lots more patients and the logistics of switching to digital medical records. Doctor Brent James is right in the middle of all of this, fine tuning the answer to an age old problem: how do you take care of patients in a way that’s really effective, but not overwhelmingly expensive? Dr. James is Executive Director of the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research in Salt Lake City. As part of our spring series on key health issues, James talks with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Deciding between doctors, treatments, and, surgeries can be exhausting, and often especially hard when juggling a serious diagnosis. Boston Physician Pamela Hartzband noticed this after practicing medicine for years, and she and a colleague have written a book on how to navigate those decisions. It’s called Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You. Dr. Hartzband will speak at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer. As part of our spring series on key health issues, Dr. Hartzband spoke with APR’s Elise Thatcher. 

CeDAR/University of Colorado Hospital

Treating drug addictions can be gender specific, and that's part of the therapy at the Center for Dependency, Addiction, and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Ben Cort represents the Center, and sat down with APR’s Elise Thatcher. 

http://justforthehealthofit9hf.blogspot.com/

    Starting next year, residents in Pitkin, Eagle, and Garfield county could pay less for health insurance. State Insurance officials decided Friday to change how insurance companies come up with monthly premium prices. But the state’s top insurance official says that won’t get to the root of the problem.

Abel Cárdenas/Portafolio

Whether you reach old age can really depend on how much money you have… that’s true in the US and around the world. Peggy Clark would love to change that. She’s passionate about health, especially for people living in other parts of the world. Clark is Executive Director of Aspen Global Health and Development, part of the Aspen Institute. She’ll speak about health at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer. Clark sat down with APR’s Elise Thatcher.

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