Saturday, August 7, 2010

Begley, Sharon Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain Awards Mind and the Brain

Tags: Begley, Sharon, Newsweek, Superb Science Columnists, Many Awards

One possible weakness of many brilliant scientists and doctors is that because of the enormous amount of scientific and medical literature too voluminous to read, often rely on periodic conferences to catch up, but again they go to their specialty and know relatively little about other things. That is why your Primary Care Physician pick is one of the most important decisions you can make. Asking a friend helps but is not good enough. Most people are clueless and ignorant enough that they have no way to judge the quality of their physician. No going to a reputable hospital does not necessarily give you a good doctor, although the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic and some others are outstanding.

Try going to a Clinic such as these and Kaiser Permanente where both primary care and specialists are in one place. One example at an Mayo Clinic which is considered the best place in the nation, had a patient the primary care physician could not figure out what was wrong so he called a number of specialists to discuss the patient's problem. After one hour they figured it out and treated him immediately. The Mayo Clinic is very efficient but superb and their Medicare charges are lower than the average in this country. Texas, the home of many crooks, has a hospital in McAllen, Texas that charges double the national rate. The doctors have become very rich by Overtreating their patients who in general are healthier than the general senior population. An equivalent population in El Paso Medicare costs are average with equally good results.

Read the book by Shannon Brownlee Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. She has been a medical reporter for 30 years. Yes, she mentions the study of millions of Medicare patients with similar maladies to see if the money and treatments done makes a difference by the Dartmouth College study. They were the same or the overtreated got more infections and deaths from doing unnecessary and damaging treatments.

I made the mistake of going to a heart specialists to find out why I had considerable fatigue since coming back from a vacation in Colombia where I had to take a new medication for malaria. He did not detect that I had both liver and kidney problems because I took these drugs. I went from doctor to doctor and never found out my problems. Finally I got an appointment with a very young just started doctor who had a lot of time to ask me loads of questions. He decided to test my kidneys!

By this time I has only 20 percent of my kidney function. In the pre-website days, even a thorough search of the library and New York Times records did yield several items. One that a major drug company silently withdrew the drug and did not bother to try to contact patients who took the drug to minimize lawsuits. Only a subsequent British medical journal revealed that some people died and that destroyed their liver and kidneys. Now things get publicized thanks to the media and the Internet.

Jim Kawakami, August 07, 2010,

Sharon Begley, widely known for her ability to break down complex scientific theories and write about them in simple prose, returned to Newsweek in March 2007 from the Wall Street Journal, where she wrote the "Science Journal" column for five years. In her new capacity at Newsweek, she writes a bi-weekly column, essays and cover stories as well as contributing to

She won a first place award from NYABJ for her "How Your Brain Looks at Race" column and won The Genesis Award for Outstanding Written Word for "The Extinction Trade." The award, given by the Humane Society of the United States, recognizes artists, writers, entertainers and journalists who contribute their time and talent to raise awareness of the plight and suffering of animals. Begley's "We Fought Cancer and Cancer Won" is a 2009 finalist for a National Magazine Award in the Public Interest category.

Before leaving NEWSWEEK, Begley had been a senior editor since December 1996. She had been a senior writer for Newsweek's science coverage since January 1990. She joined the magazine as an editorial assistant in Science in 1977, and was promoted to assistant editor in January 1979, associate editor in 1980 and then general editor in 1983. During her career at Newsweek, Begley wrote a myriad of cover stories. And she wrote another one, after being back at the magazine just two weeks, "The Evolution Revolution" (3/19/07).

Begley has received numerous awards for her work. In 2006, she won the American Aging Association Media Award for a series of columns on Alzheimer's disease; in 2005, she won the Public Understanding of Science Award from the Exploratorium, the science museum in San Francisco and a Clarion Award from the Association for Women in Communications for her "Science Journal" column. In 2004, Begley received a Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for Contributions to the public understanding of science from the University of North Carolina.

Begley earned a B.A. from Yale University. She is the co-author of the 2002 book, "The Mind and the Brain," and the author of the 2007 book "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain." She and her husband live in Pelham, New York with their two children.

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