One of the mainstays of the MD Consult News section is the commentary article, usually written by a physician and covering a wide range of subjects. Some of this week’s commentaries detail the affects of sleep on the body, prevention of the West Nile Virus, vitamin intake, and following gut instincts in medicine.
Sleepless in the Ivory Towers, written by William G. Wilkoff, M.D. focuses on the slow emergence of data connecting the amount of sleep one gets directly to their mental and physical health, specifically in college-age students. “Sleep deprivation has been implicated in problems as far-reaching as attention deficit–like symptoms and obesity,” Dr. Wilkoff said.
He suggests that both parents and society are not doing enough to change the pattern of sleep deprivation, but also acknowledges that when children move out of their parent’s home and onto college campuses, it’s a natural response to the sudden freedom to push the boundaries of sleep schedules. Numerous colleges and university even cater to the idea that students do not need rest, that it’s a natural part of the college experience.
And while change might be on the horizon for some, it will take more than a handful of schools to shift the views of the majority. As Dr. Wilkoff aptly puts it: “It has always seemed strange to me that what for many young people is the last stop on their way to the ‘real world’ fosters a sleep schedule incompatible with most ‘real world’ jobs.”
In a similar vein, Digesting Advice on Kids’ Vitamins and Supplements by Dilek Bishku, M.D. goes into the importance of regulating vitamin intake. Since there is a wide array of vitamins readily available to the public in any number of shopping centers, from your local health store to major chains, the accessibility can be detrimental to one’s health.
Dr. Bishku stresses the guidance of the physician as “crucial because vitamins, even the most familiar ones, are not harmless…. For example, too much vitamin A can damage the liver, and excess vitamin D can be toxic. Unfortunately, megadoses of most vitamins are not simply excreted in the urine, as is vitamin C.”
She notes the importance of staying up-to-date on all the latest trends and ideas behind vitamin use and nutritional supplements, mentioning several websites and lists that will help in that arena.
A few of the other commentaries posted to MD Consult this week included a wider variety of topics.
To Combat West Nile virus, Emphasize Prevention written by Bonnie M. Word, M.D. discusses how the best way to deal with the re-emergence of West Nile Virus is to start with prevention. “When speaking with your patients, it’s worth reemphasizing the methods for prevention. Parents should be instructed to apply one of the Environmental Protection Agency–registered insect repellents to their children before they go outside, using just enough to protect exposed skin.”
A second commentary by William G. Wilkoff, M.D. titled Critical Skills explores the idea of being able to identify truly ill children on sight, looking past an obvious symptom and really looking at how the child both looks and acts.
Rounding out a sample of the type of commentaries often seen on MD Consult was $750 Billion in Waste by Kevin T. Powell, M.D., PH.D., an editorial that makes a case against the idea of ordering unnecessary tests by thinking about what’s really necessary in terms of cost and the patient.
Check back again next week when we see what else is new on MD Consult.blog comments powered by Disqus