“There’s no denying that shrinking our health care system will cause dislocation among workers and lower profits for some sectors of the medical industry. But America’s industries are undergoing constant change, and in any other arena of our economy we would never tolerate the degree of waste and inefficiency and lack of accountability that’s rife in health care.”  (Page 302)

In her compelling and eye-opening book, Overtreated, award-winning journalist Shannon Brownlee investigates the US health care system and demonstrates how too many tests and treatments are not just unnecessary and sometimes dangerous, but they are the root cause of escalating health care costs. She explores the history of our current health care system to explain how we ended up in such a mess.

Her message is also a hopeful one. Brownlee takes readers inside model systems like the Mayo Clinic to demonstrate how good health care can be. It really is possible to improve the quality of care while controlling costs and extending health insurance to the uninsured. This book is a page-turner that should be required reading for doctors, patients and lawmakers alike.

Free Workshops on Breastfeeding, Childbirth and More

Choices in Childbirth is a non-profit organization promoting good maternity care. Through education, advocacy and outreach they give women the information they need to make informed decisions about where and how to give birth.

This fall, Choices in Childbirth is offering free workshops on important topics to new and expecting parents in New York City. This first one happens TODAY. To learn more, click below to follow the link or call 212-983-4122.

Breastfeeding Workshop
Date: Monday, September 20, 2010
Time: 6:15 - 8:30 pm

Sex During and After Pregnancy
Date: Tuesday, September 28th
Time: 7 - 9 pm

How to Have a Great Hospital Birth
Date: Monday, October 18th, 2010
Time: 6:15 - 8:30 pm

Building Your Birth Team: Focus on Support
Date: Monday, November 15th, 2010
Time: 6:15 - 8:30 pm

Also join Choices in Childbirth for the 8th annual Miles for Midwives 5K Race and Community Wellness Fair on Saturday, October 2 from 10 am to 2 pm in Prospect Park (Bartel-Pritchard Square, 15th Street and Prospect Park West). There will be a silent auction and free activities including yoga, massage and acupuncture. Proceeds from this event benefit the work of Choices in Childbirth and the American College of Nurse-Midwives to improve maternity care in our community.

Register in advance ($20 or $50 VIP) on their website by Thursday, September 30 or on the day of the event (8:30-9:30 am, $25). All race participants receive gift bags. VIP registrants receive extra products and coupons in their gift bags as well as post-race snacks.

Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment can take a serious toll on the health of humans and wildlife. They mimic or block natural hormones made by the body and have been linked to irreversible reproductive and developmental problems like early puberty, infertility and cancer.

Evidence is mounting that these chemicals also interfere with neurological and immune systems and contribute to thyroid disorders, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are found in food, water, air, consumer products, plastics, pesticides, industrial chemicals and fuel. Because most are fat-soluble, they are stored in tissues, rather than excreted, and accumulate in the body. They can be transferred from mother to child through the placenta or breast milk.

The Endocrine Disruption Prevention Act (S 2828 and HR 4190) would authorize the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to conduct research on hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment and determine their safety.

A panel of scientific experts, free of conflict of interest, will evaluate the findings and determine the level of concern. Their findings will be passed on to regulatory agencies, including those listed below, which must propose a course of action in response to the findings.

•    Environmental Protection Agency
•    US Food and Drug Administration
•    Consumer Product Safety Commission
•    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
•    Department of Agriculture

If this bill becomes law, it would create the following protocols to develop reliable and reproducible methods to identify chemicals that can disrupt hormones in the human body and impact health.

•    Address the full range of possible health outcomes, including reproductive, behavioral, intellectual, metabolic, and endocrine disorders
•    Detect effects at levels relevant to human exposure
•    Consider the effects of exposure to multiple chemicals

Congress is back in session but scheduled to recess on October 8, 2010.  There is a lot of work to be done in this short period of time, so please write your elected officials today and encourage them to cosponsor this legislation.

It’s easy to take action with Capwiz. This legislative tool allows you to send emails or printed letters directly to your Senators and Congressman. Follow this link to enter your zip code and contact information, customize the suggested text and send the letter to all of your elected officials.


Diamanti-Kandarakis E et al. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: an Endocrine Society scientific statement. Endocrine Reviews. 2009 June; 30(4):293-342.

Colborn T et al. Developmental effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in wildlife and humans. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1993 October; 101(5):378-84.

Adverse Effects of High Heels

Wearing high heels has long been associated with foot pain and problems like ingrown toe nails, corns, calluses, bunions, neuromas, hammertoes and other deformities. A recent study shows that women who wear high heels are also at risk for structural and functional changes in muscles and tendons of the lower leg.

Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University in England compared the lower limbs of women who wear high heels regularly with those who don’t. The regular wearers had thicker and stiffer Achilles tendons and less range of motion in their ankles. They also had shortened gastrocnemius muscles. The gastrocnemius is the major muscle in the lower leg and women who wore high heels regularly had 13 percent shorter fibers. Some also reported pain when wearing flat-soled shoes, a result of shorter muscles and tighter tendons.

For healthy feet, ankles and legs, save high heels for special occasions and follow these rules when selecting shoes:

•    Choose shoes that fit your feet well

•    Opt for lower heels with a gradual slope over higher heels with a steeper slope

•    Look for shoes with good cushion or insert silicone pads under the ball of each foot for added shock absorption

•    Choose open-toed shoes to relieve pressure on feet

•    Wear thicker heels that provide more stability to maintain better balance and ease pressure on the knees, hips and back


Csapo R et al. On muscle, tendon and high heels. Journal of Experimental Biology. 2010 Aug 1;213(Pt 15):2582-8.