Archive for ‘New Study’

September 29, 2014

Do you like to save money? Medical costs and quality care…

Kitten by Michael Richardson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) note derivWhen it comes to lowering medical costs – the power can be in your hands! (Would you believe it? Because it doesn’t always feel that way…). The old motto about the customer always being right (customer = patient = you) is true. Shopping around can have a profound effect on the market, both in terms of pricing and level of quality. But this only matters IF you know you have options…

 

Price transparency in medicine is a relatively new concept. With payment of physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers done by insurance, most of us have never known how much a particular office visit, lab test or procedure actually costs. Those times are changing.

 

In the journal Health Affairs, a study titled “Price Transparency For MRIs Increased Use Of Less Costly Providers And Triggered Provider Competition” caught our eyes. (And not just because it was in the New York Times, though it was.) This study showed that when the cost of an MRI was known, going to the less costly provider happened more often. Makes perfect sense to us!

 

Price transparency makes sense because:

 

Reason number one: Patients aren’t always aware they have a choice in where to go for medical tests including imaging. Costs can vary greatly – sometimes by a factor of ten. If you pay a percentage of the cost of the test, the less a test costs, the less you pay. Simple math.

 

Reason number two: The math isn’t always simple though if you can’t get the numbers. Getting accurate pricing information can be a challenge, particularly from hospitals and large health-care enterprises. Does the price include all charges? Sometimes impossible to tell until after the billing starts.

 

We believe getting accurate, complete pricing information on the tests you are about to undergo is your right.

 

Price transparency in medicine – the time has come.

 

 

(Image attribution: Kitten! by Michael Richardson via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) note: derivative work)

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

June 18, 2014

The Study Is Out: Animal Proteins and Strokes

 

Copper river sockeye smoked salmon mit salat und crumpet 07.04.2012 20-30-53 by Dirk Ingo Franke via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedNow that we’ve discussed carotid Doppler, CT angiography and MR angiography, here’s a reminder that we are advocates for an ounce of prevention over a pound of cure. Preventing vascular disease is much better than detecting it!

 

According to a recent analysis of seven health studies, one of the best ways to fight stroke is by a healthy diet (pause to act surprised here). One key to that healthy diet is lean animal protein (okay, you’re allowed to be surprised now).

 

The study showed that as lean protein intake increases, stroke risk decreases. This study included over 250,000 patients but was focused on those living in countries where unsaturated, lean proteins like fish are popular. Those who ate 20 additional grams of protein a day had a 26% lower risk of stroke. What is behind the reduced risk is less well-understood. Likely, there are multiple factors involved. For instance, a protein-rich diet can also naturally include extra nutrients like potassium, magnesium and dietary fiber, all of which may be stroke deterrents.

 

We should not take this study to mean increase your protein intake without considering the type or quality of the protein -lean animal protein seems to be the key here. While the occasional steak or hamburger is acceptable, increasing your daily dietary intake of these type proteins will not yield the same results seen in this study.

 

The long and the short of it is this: a careful diet is good for you; proteins, including lean animal proteins, seem to help with reducing stroke risk. For further reading, there are articles summarizing the findings here and here.


For your best vascular health, don’t smoke, keep cholesterol and glucose levels healthy, and consider a diet focused on healthy lean proteins.

April 10, 2014

Bone Density: High Impact

Double Dutch Street Performance by Matsuri @ Vancouver City Centre Station by GoToVan via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)And you thought jumping rope was just for fun… Well, it is! But it also might be good for the health of your bones. We’re not saying you have to hit 332 jumps per minute, but even at a leisurely pace, a little jumping can be good for your bones.

 

As it turns out, when bones receive a moderate impact (we’re talking a moderate impact from movement like running or jumping) bones make themselves stronger.

 

In a recent study (playfully titled Physical activity and bone: may the force be with you) it was discovered that young persons, whose bones are still developing, can increase bone density with physical exercise which included moderate impact activities. The hope is that building bone density in young people will help provide protection from future bone loss issues such as osteoporosis, although further research into long-term effects is needed. And these clever scientists weren’t the only ones to find such promising results from moderate impact exercise. In another study of premenopausal women, when bones were subjected to a moderate force from jumping, hip bone density increased.

 

As we age, the risk of bone loss and all its negative side effects increases. One of the best preventives for future problems with osteoporosis is to start with strong bones. These studies show we can improve bone strength over a relatively short period of time with purposeful, moderate impact activity.

 

Want to read more? Check out this article from the New York Times, here. Hop to it!

(Photo credit: Double Dutch Street Performance by 祭 – Matsuri @ Vancouver City Centre Station by GoToVan via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

April 3, 2014

Brain Boost: Kids and Screens

Computer by yoshimov via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Computer by yoshimov via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Bringing children into the world brings organized chaos to your life. There are things they do on a regular basis, like eat and sleep – and things we cannot regulate at all, like moods, personalities and learning curves. There is one certainty – they will keep growing and changing, especially when you think you’ve figured them out.

 

As parents, we struggle to manage the unmanageable. We try to get them to go to bed at a certain hour, we try to get them to eat at dinner time and we try to get them to want healthy foods.

 

In the middle of all that trying comes another interruption to their cycles: technology. It entertains the cranky, exercises the brain and distracts, separating the user from the world outside the screen. It’s a gift and a burden.

 

Recently, the Washington Post wrote an excellent article on kids and screentime. In short, just as we carefully monitor their diets for a balance of good food and the occasional treat, absorption of a healthy media diet is in order too.

 

It doesn’t take a scientific study to know that there are times to turn off the television and go get some playful exercise outdoors (but there are many). But as iPads have turned into flipbooks for three year olds and texting is more than just a game to many teenagers, it can become hard to judge just how much time spent on these devices is time well spent.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great guidelines they’ve researched when it comes to the media intake of children. When it comes to hard facts and numbers, here’s what we learned from writer Kendall Powell:

 

Develop a family media plan and stick to it!

 

●Enforce consistent rules about screen time from the start.

●Keep all screens and Internet out of the bedroom.

●Impose meal time restrictions and bedtime curfews for everyone’s devices (yours too!).

●Watch or explore media content with children.

 

While wrangling the chaos of a household is hard (to put it mildly), managing a little more of what goes into the heads and hands of little ones can produce happier, healthier children. And that’s an effort well worth making.

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

March 4, 2014

Effective, Cost Effective, Life-saving CTs

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The number of people dying from lung cancer in the US per year is greater that the number of deaths from breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. Despite the scope of the problem of lung cancer, early detection has been the subject of debate. Recent studies have shown that low-dose CT screening for lung cancer in high-risk smokers can reduce cancer deaths. The detection of small lung cancers before spreading outside the lungs has been shown to save lives.

According to a newly published study, there’s more good news about CT lung screening for smokers age 55-75. This study shows the success of CT screening out in the communities – not just in academic centers. Naturally, the best way to save lives from lung cancer is to never use tobacco or to stop using it. But as long as patients are fighting the uphill battle for lung health, it is keenly important to fight it on all fronts, from prevention to early detection.

For successful lung cancer screening, CT scans must be “low dose”, referred to as LDCT. We are always conscious of and try to limit radiation dose wherever possible in our practice. The principle of imaging is using the lowest dose possible to achieve the images we need. Studies have shown we can safely use LDCT for early detection of lung cancer. This study in particular shows that low dose CT programs can hit the trifecta of helpfulness: they are effective in finding lung cancer, can be performed cost-effectively and can save lives. There you have it.

The January recommendation from the US Preventative Services Task Force said that high-risk patients could benefit greatly from regular low-dose CT screenings. This is timely news as the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are currently determining coverage feasibility. This recent study shows that execution and efficacy are possible!

Hopefully, we will be seeing programs develop and expand as a result of these findings. For those at high risk, lung cancer screening with low dose CT and early detection can be life changing and life saving.