My best of health 2011.

One of the questions I ask doctors is “In the past 10 years, what is an innovation that has revolutionized medical practice?” Most of them can’t answer. So, with that in mind, I’ve tried to choose the most important health concepts from the past 12 months. Some of them are from other people. Some of them are my own thoughts. Some of them are simply important moments in my own personal health. In no particular order:

Trials and Errors: Why Science is Failing US

Although the scientific process tries to makes sense of problems by isolating every variable—imagining a blood vessel, say, if HDL alone were raised—reality doesn’t work like that. Instead, we live in a world in which everything is knotted together, an impregnable tangle of causes and effects. Even when a system is dissected into its basic parts, those parts are still influenced by a whirligig of forces we can’t understand or haven’t considered or don’t think matter.

How Doctors Die

The nation’s “best” hospitals aren’t even in the top 400 list of safest hospitals.

In the latest advance for health care accountability, the country’s leading hospital accreditation board, the Joint Commission, released a list on Tuesday of 405 medical centers that have been the most diligent in following protocols to treat conditions like heart attack andpneumonia. Almost without exception, most highly regarded hospitals in the United States, from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., did not make the list.

Food Stamps Are Now Worth Double at Farmer’s Markets in Michigan

Real Food is Cheaper than Junk Food

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking

The Hazards of the Couch

The Hot Spotters

A Food Manifesto for the Future

Most Health Solutions Aren’t Medical, They’re Social

Weighing the Evidence on Exercise:

It is extremely unlikely that using exercise or a diet alone will lead to long-term weight loss.
Exercise makes you hungry because your body wants to maintain its current state. Guard against eating more because you’re exercising. 
Start eating real food and less calories— understand that this is how you will eat from now on.
Start exercising. Once you hit your weight goal, continue exercising. Don’t stop.
If you don’t change anything about your life, you’ll never weigh less than you do now.

What Happens to Doctors Who Think Outside the Box?

Family Planning as a Cost-Saving Preventive Health Service

The cost of one Medicaid-covered birth in the United States (including prenatal care, delivery, postpartum care, and infant care for 1 year) was $12,613 in 2008, according to estimates from the Guttmacher Institute. The national per-client cost for contraceptive care the same year was $257. In 2008, an estimated $1.9 billion was spent on publicly funded family-planning care — an investment that resulted in an estimated $7 billion in Medicaid savings for the cost of unplanned births.

Coffee vs. Migraines

RIP Dr. Kevorkian

RIP Jack LaLanne

A Measure of My Days: The Journal of a Country Doctor:

Health is not a commodity. Risk factors are not disease. Aging is not an illness. To fix a problem is easy, to sit with another suffering is hard. Doing all we can is not the same as doing what we should. Quality is more than metrics. Patients cannot see outside their pain, we cannot see in, relationship is the only bridge between. Time is precious; we spend it on what we value. The most common condition we treat is unhappiness. And the greatest obstacle to treating a patient’s unhappiness is our own. Nothing is more patient-centered than the process of change. Doctors expect too much from data and not enough from conversation. Community is a locus of healing, not the hospital or the clinic. The foundation of medicine is friendship, conversation and hope.

Wild Food: A tumblr I started because most people have no idea what their food looks like as it’s growing.

Buddycare vs. Humancare

Vaccines Save Lives. End of Story. Part 1 and Part 2.

Everything in Your Environment is Set Up for the Way You Were Before

Introducing my new company, Sherpaa. Launching in just a few weeks.

Doctors of the Future:

We’re a tribe of forward-thinking creative doctors.
And we know that the future of healthcare depends on us.
We’re the leaders of this revolution.
Intrigued? You should be.

One of the best things to happen to me.

Photo by me from many years ago on New Years Eve at Madison Square Garden while listening to Wilco ring in the new year.