David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM, is the Founding Director (1998) of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, and former President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He has published roughly 200 scientific articles and textbook chapters, and 15 books to date, including multiple editions of leading textbooks in both preventive medicine, and nutrition. He has made important contributions in the areas of lifestyle interventions for health promotion; nutrient profiling; behavior modification; holistic care; and evidence-based medicine. David earned his BA degree from Dartmouth College (1984); his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1988); and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health (1993). He completed sequential residency training in Internal Medicine, and Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He is a two-time diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a board-certified specialist in Preventive Medicine/Public Health. He has received two Honorary Doctorates.
Readers of a certain age will recall, and perhaps still find themselves singing from time to time, the song: He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. That sentiment – that we’ve got one another’s backs, and will put a shoulder to one another’s burdens- is a laudable and recurring theme in some really great music, if not quite so reliably in our daily routines. The sad, simple reality of modern life, though, is that our brother is probably both- and quite possibly diabetic as well. So, too, our sisters, and selves- and all too often, even our children.
High-profile opinion and commentary about the value of nutrient supplementation, whether directed to the general public, or health professionals is in bountiful supply, and just keeps coming. To some extent, the cadence of such commentary may be likened to the swing of a pendulum: excesses of support (primarily from those marketing supplements) are followed by excesses of opposition (that toss out the baby with the bathwater), until the extremes of action and reaction settle toward a more temperate middle ground.
There has been widespread media attention over the past week, some of it my own, to a study published in JAMA that compared low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss and health improvement. The study also profiled the genes of the participants to determine if genetic patterns thought to predict success on a given diet assignment did just that. Additionally, the study assessed baseline insulin status, to see if- as some rather vociferously claim- losing weight and finding health are all about restricting carbs to lower insulin, rather than improving diet in general and reducing calories.
A recent Cochrane meta-analysis reaches the succinct, clear, and rather startling conclusion that the treatment of severe pneumonia should include corticosteroids (generally known simply as “steroids”) to reduce mortality and morbidity alike. That unusually decisive and rather emphatic punch line is fortified by this fact: the practice is apt to save a life for every 18 patients or so treated (a parameter in clinical epidemiology known as the “number needed to treat”).
In what has become a seasonal rite nearly as reliable as the solstice, US News and World Report has issued its rankings of best diets to coincide with the turn of the calendar. Once again, I was privileged to serve as one of the judges.