Top 5 Health Posts For 2018

In 2018, the WSJ Experts panel on Health wrote about some of the ways patients and practitioners can connect more meaningfully, and how end-of-life planning and medical decision-making may be transformed in the future. Below are five of the most-popular Experts blog posts about health care and wellness from 2018. And you can read what they had to say throughout the year here. The Experts is made up of industry thought leaders from business, academia and non-profits who weigh in on the big issues they see in the field. It is a part of The Journal Report online.

‘How Long Do I Have Left?’ AI Can Help Answer That Question

The first patient I saw during my clinical rotations as a medical student was dying from chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Today, with treatment, the 5-year survival rate for CML is about 90%. But when I was a student, CML was incurable. It was an early and poignant reminder of the limitations of medicine that I have never forgotten. We didn’t understand cancer like we do now, nor did we have the tools to treat it, which meant there was agonizingly little we could do. With the national hospice and palliative care movements only beginning, our discussions with this man and his wife focused mostly on which chemotherapies might be able to prolong his life.

Read the full column by Lloyd B. Minor, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The One Question Doctors Should Be Asking—but Never Do

During a routine visit with your doctor, you anticipate questions about your diet, weight, smoking and drinking. But there’s one important health-related question that our doctors never ask, but should. The words of this question are simple but the implications of the answer profound: “What’s your sense of purpose in life?”

Read the full column from Dr. Marc E. Agronin (@MarcAgronin) is a geriatric psychiatrist at Miami Jewish Health in Miami, Fla., and the author of “The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life.”

One Doctor’s Four Simple Steps for a Healthier Life

Physicians know that most of the time what we can do for our patients pales in comparison to what they can do for themselves. But we also see first-hand how hard it is for people to make the changes that can result in better health. It’s not just eating better, exercising and getting enough sleep. There’s plenty of low-hanging fruit that could bear outsize rewards in terms of our health—from ridding ourselves of our smartphone addictions to taking 10 minutes each day for meditation or other mindfulness activities.

Read the full column by Lloyd B. Minor, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

It’s Time to Get Rid of the Stethoscope

Your doctor strides into the room, a stethoscope draped around her neck. In the course of the visit, she places the end of the stethoscope on your chest, closes her eyes, and listens intently to your heart. You assume your physician is gathering important information. What you don’t know is that this is more ritual than diagnostic tool. Yes, the heart sounds are a potential rich source of information about the functioning of the heart—it’s just that there is little evidence that most doctors get much out of listening.

Read the full column by Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist and the Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University School of Medicine.

The High Health Cost of Social Isolation—and How to Cure It

A call from your doctor’s office inquiring whether you have plans for Thanksgiving may not be typical, but it is an innovative way that one health-care system is addressing a clear threat to their patients’ health—social isolation. To be socially isolated doesn’t simply mean dealing with the occasional bout of loneliness. It means being substantially disconnected from other people and society in general.

Dr. David Blumenthal is the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a national health-care philanthropy based in New York.

Credit: The Wall Street Journal, 31 December 2018.