Health Tips: The week’s roundup: bone scam, bariatric surgery, medical debts


In the late 1990s, National Geographic fell for a big bone scam. A fossil they declared was a missing link between dinosaurs and birds turned out to be a glued-together combo of bone bits from various species. The use of QCT (quantitative computed tomography) for bone scans, instead of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) screening technology, may be another bone scam. MedPage Today reports that although QCT is increasingly used these days, it delivers 1,000 to 3,000 times more radiation than DXA and exaggerates fracture risks. Find out what technology your scan center uses and opt for DXA.

A study that looked at over 94,000 severely obese Medicare patients who got bariatric surgery found that the procedure slashed their risk for new-onset heart failure, heart attack, stroke and all-cause death significantly. So don’t let age dissuade you from discussing this option with your doc.

Are you saddled with medical debt? It’s an economic burden for one-third of American adults and a health issue since it keeps folks from seeking additional -- and needed -- medical attention. Now the government is expanding its “No Surprises Act” mandate to make sure that debt collectors follow the law and providers’ billing practices are legit. All important steps, because, as I point out in the “Great Age Reboot,” economic inequality is a public health issue, and regulations that foster economic equality will improve the health of the nation. 

Bottom line: By assuming responsibility for your own health and establishing policies that improve everyone’s health care, we can all live younger, longer. 

Exercise your right to smile

“You’re only one workout away from a good mood.” That may sound like a T-shirt slogan, but a new study confirms what we have long suspected: Regular physical activity is a great way to reduce the risk of depression and to improve your mood if you are feeling down. A study in JAMA Psychiatry looked at 15 studies with more than 190,000 participants to determine the association between physical activity and depression. The researchers found that compared to sedentary adults, those who got just half of the recommended amount of physical activity (equivalent to 2.5 hours a week of brisk walking) had an 18% lower risk of depression, and those getting the full recommended dose (way less than I think is sufficient) saw a 25% reduction.

Just imagine how you might feel if you went for 10,000 steps a day plus two strength-building sessions weekly.

Depression isn’t the only mood-atude that benefits from exercise. Regular exercise dispels stress, anger and mental fatigue, gives you a sense of accomplishment, helps regulate your blood sugar (that affects mood big time) and helps you with focus and motivation in your work (which makes it more enjoyable and successful).

I am currently very enthused about combining walking 10,000 steps a day (do interval training) with jumping jacks (they increase bone and muscle strength, improve balance and coordination) and strength training using your own body weight (planks, wall sits, wall pushups, squats). For a full rundown of these workouts, check out; search for “exercise.”