My friend Eric Rothenberg is 42. Given that I am writing this on my 59th birthday, I see Eric as a very young man. Married, twin 14-year-old boys. Great wife, Edith, who I love and see at the gym at our little Mercer Island Country Club most days. The club is no deluxe place. A few workout rooms, a pool, tennis courts. But it is a community. And that community saved Eric’s life last Thursday night. Friday morning at 6 am another regular at the gym told me the story. Eric participated in the Thursday night men’s tennis league. He...

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Avoiding the Swine Flu from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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Being Jewish, this is an especially introspective time for me. We are just passing the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, and the few days between this holiday and the next, Yom Kippur, our day of atonement, typically get me thinking about why I do what I do – what’s the point? My friend and one of our rabbis, Yohanna Kinberg, brought things home to me as she commented on the story of creation, which we reread at this time of year. Quoting great Jewish thinkers of the past, Rabbi Kinberg spoke of our recognition of an imperfect world and our...

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The Dr. No of Cancer Drugs? from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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Much of what you can find on the Internet about health is fueled by big corporations and their agendas to sell you something: a product, a service, a philosophy. After 25 years devoted to health communications (17 online), I am pretty savvy about this and, with my friend and co-author Mary Thomas, am pretty near completion of a manuscript for a book, my first, called “Patient to Patient.” It will help demystify what’s online and help the American healthcare consumer navigate to what is truly helpful and what they can believe. So it occurred to me, why don’t I start...

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Showtime for Healthcare Reform from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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If the worst happened and your child was diagnosed with cancer you would probably want aggressive therapy for the child with hope for a cure, let alone to save your child’s life. In diseases like childhood leukemia these days, the vast majority of the time, aggressive therapy works. But when it comes to chronic conditions many parents worry if strong medicines are too strong, or too new, and that there could be unforeseen long-term side effects that made the therapy not worth it. This very discussion came up as I walked with a friend along Seattle’s Puget Sound the other...

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I felt terrible about it, but I gave up my 21-year subscription to The Seattle Times a few months ago. I go to the gym every morning, ride the recombinant bike (to go easy on my back) and only have time to read one newspaper. I decided it was important to focus totally on what was significant. That meant goodbye to news of car wrecks and fires, lost children, and city council debates. Goodbye to news about the Seattle Mariners and their middling travails. And it meant hello to the newspaper I grew up with, The New York Times. The...

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Our live webcast last night with two cancer experts from Vanderbilt Medical Center, and a patient who owes his life to them, provides a clear picture, in my opinion, of the future for beating cancer. The headline is: It’s in your genes. What we learned is that there are 30 to 40 genes that play a role to trigger the growth of cancer cells. Just 30 to 40 from among the 25,000 or so discovered in the big Human Genome Project. We also heard last night that some of these “cancer genes” are “driver genes” that are the real “bad...

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Discovering How Some Foods Can Hurt us from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

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