Health Care advances and Thanksgiving

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Given all the news about the healthcare reform bill and Thanksgiving (a US national holiday) I read this article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal (24Nov2009) by Melinda Beck “20 Advances to Be Thankful For” and a blog posted on: scientificblogging, science 2.0 by Becky Jungbauer. Thanksgiving is always a time for families to gather and share a common meal. Unlike other holidays, this one always has special meaning for me and each year brings new stories and changes in our family member’s lives. What struck me about this list of scientific advances is that we do have a lot to be grateful for I’ve chosen the following as it has direct impact on me and my family:

  • 62% of all US adults are in excellent or very good health
  • Life expectancy in the US reached an all time high of 77.9 in 2007
  • Death rates from cancer dropped 16% from 1990 to 2006 (this is the second leading cause of death – the first is coronary heart disease)
  • Deaths from strokes dropped 26% from 1995 to 2005
  • Average total cholesterol (in adults aged 20 to 74) dropped from 197 milligrams per deciliter in 2008 from 222 in 1962

The author, Melinda Beck, goes on to state, “The longer you live, the happier you are likely to be. Many older adults find that happiness and emotional well-being improve with time; they learn to avoid or limit stressful situations and are less likely to let negative comments or criticism bother them than young adults, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association conference in Toronto this year.”

I do agree with the article that goes on to share simple “free” tips on taking care of you: getting enough sleep leads to thinking more clearly, helps with weight loss, and fends off infections. Going out and getting at least 30 minutes of sun will give you more vitamin D. Yet there is still more that we need to do to improve health care in this country and around the world. I look forward to seeing Personalized Medicine (targeted treatments) for cancer, new drugs for lupus and memory loss, advances in vaccines for gene therapy and cancer, which leads us to a promising future.

Take a moment and read through the entire article. You may find some reason to be thankful for as health care impacts all of us. Find time to focus on your family and avoid the stress of the job search. Recharge yourself and come back renewed that an opportunity is just around the corner. Yes, by now you can see that I am more than just an optimist. Please do enjoy your holiday.

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