mental health

The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) is a quick, 10-question test that attempts to objectify an inherently subjective topic: depression. You can take the test here.

Each question asks about your mental health and various behaviors over the past two weeks. Based on your response, you receive a score of 0-3 for each question. At the end of the test, the responses are tallied and a "depression score" is assigned as follows:

0-4: None or minimal
5-9: Mild
10-14: Moderate
15-19: Moderately severe
20-27: Severe

The test is far from comprehensive. It does not, for instance, ask about...

Graduate school can be extremely tough on students.

Grad students in the sciences are often expected to put in 50- or 60-hour weeks in the laboratory. (One professor boasted to me that he worked 80-hour weeks when he was in grad school.) Some professors are notoriously demanding and mercurial, expecting students to be in the lab on weekends and on holidays. Writing dissertations and other papers is an endless back-and-forth of often nit-picky edits.

It goes without saying that grad students are also poor. But, they are told that if they grind it out for six (or more) years, they will land a sweet gig somewhere in academia. Of course, that's not true. Universities produce far more PhD's than there are...

President Donald Trump is fit for duty - medically, mentally, cognitively, psychologically, emotionally, physically and otherwise. In quite frankly the most transparent briefing on presidential health in recent memory, White House physician Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson confirmed this at a press conference yesterday whose Q&A portion lasted nearly an hour when he released a verbal and formally written medical assessment that reflects a thorough, comprehensive evaluation.

Dressed in his official U.S. Navy military uniform, Jackson made clear the President insisted on full disclosure, "He said, 'I want you to get out there and I want you to talk to them and I want you to answer every single question they have.' " He was told Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was to give him the podium...

With Mental Health Day just behind us, it would seem that enough is not being done to address mental health needs, according to a recent report from the Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  

Mortality data were obtained from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) which include demographic, geographic, and cause of death information derived from death certificates filed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, from 2001-2015.  What the data uncovered were higher rates of suicide across the board in all three urbanization levels: nonmetropolitan/rural counties, medium/small or large metropolitan counties. Another troubling finding was that...

It’s been an enlightening week in the world of public defecation. Recent video captures of two serial poop-and-run culprits-- respectively deemed “The Mad Pooper” and “Poopman”-- have served to unite communities, corporations, media venues and police forces.  

The Colorado female jogger, dubbed “The Mad Pooper,” who regularly deposits her feces mid-run in one neighborhood and park, despite many restrooms accessible in close proximity, was initially caught by children while in the process of relieving herself. The kids told their...


Official Health Report for SANTA CLAUS






One St. Nicholas Icy Drive

North Pole, Arctic

Date of Birth (DOB):  Immortal

Medical Record #:  12-24-0000

This letter reflects the official summary of SANTA CLAUS’ (aka St. Nick) recent health visit to determine medical fitness to serve as himself on Christmas Eve in a global capacity.  As the Director of Medicine and a Board-Certified physician at the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), I can...

It is a longstanding myth that suicides surge during the holiday season.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate reaches its lowest of the year in the month of December.  

The Spring and Fall apparently reflect peak times— a rather consistent finding in recent years.  Regardless of this nuance, suicide is a major public health threat impacting all ages, careers and socioeconomic strata prompting a rippling devastation of families and communities throughout the calendar year.  

Spurred by the Germanwings Flight 4U 925 crash last year, the journal ...

There is an ever-growing body of evidence that reinforces the health benefits of animals.  The cardiovascular and mental health ones are known and well-documented.  

A new study published in BMC Psychiatry sought to explore the role pets had in support, self-management and personal networks of those suffering from long-term significant mental illness (e.g. bipolar disorder, schizophrenia).  It concluded “pets should be considered a main rather than a marginal source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems, and this has implications for the planning and delivery of mental health services.”

The qualitative research involved interviews of 54 individuals...

Excited to report that a new study in Health Affairs provides us with another metric that we have previously known and repeatedly been shown in the literature (and in medical practice):  Life expectancy and well-being are positively linked.  

If you have ever practiced medicine, then you are used to constant email or text alerts from hospitals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Department of Health, to name a few.  Most say urgent or emergent in the header.  Since patient results and inquiries are nonstop, being tethered to the phone is a modern reality for the practicing physician.  Often, while running between patients, procedures, facilities and electronic medical...

Monday night marked the first debate of Secretary Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump.  Though no fits of any kind - coughing or otherwise - were thrown, the two gave jabs as expected.  Mrs. Clinton stated, “You live in your own reality, Donald.”  Later, Mr. Trump asserted that while he has been campaigning she has been noticeably absent on the trail- “You have been at home.”    

She thwarted any attempted health discussion or resurrection of her recent pneumonia as a topic by responding “I think Donald Trump just criticized me for preparing for this debate… and I will prepare as President.”  His subsequent discourse included, “I have better judgement and much better temperament… I have a winning temperament…She doesn’t…She doesn’t have the stamina.”

And, though...