5 Things to Read on Improving Health

Find out why you may want to rethink the value of vitamins, how Barbara Bush opened up a national discussion of palliative care in her final days, and more.

Are vitamins effective? Enthusiasm outpaces the evidence

Half of all American adults take some sort of natural supplement or vitamin. But, as Kaiser Health News reports, they may just be throwing their money away — despite years of research, there’s no conclusive evidence taking supplements improves health, and doing so may even have unintended negative consequences.

Palliative care proponents applaud Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decisions

Before former First Lady Barbara Bush died April 17, she made it known to her family, friends and the nation that she decided “not to seek additional medical treatment” for her congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease, and would “focus on comfort care.” In doing so, she may encourage others to do the same. “It’s a personal decision that she didn’t have to share, but hopefully it will encourage others to think about their choices, talk about their choices, document their choices and have those choices honored,” one expert quoted by USA Today said.

Opioid treatment prescriptions up as doctors prescribe fewer painkillers

New data show prescriptions for medication that treats opioid addition almost doubled in the last two years. At the same time, clinicians are prescribing fewer opioid painkillers to patients. This could be seen as a win in the fight against the opioid epidemic, but could also signal people in pain may not be getting the care they need, The New York Times notes. (Read the related MHCSW story: Tackling Prescribing Patterns to Combat the Opioid Crisis.)

What is each state’s biggest health challenge?

Becker’s Hospital Review asked one hospital leader from each state to name the biggest health concern their patients face. They got a range of responses, but opioid addiction, care access and the social determinants of health were common replies.

#VaccinesWork

The World Health Organization designated April 24-30 as World Immunization Week, designed to “highlight the collective action needed to ensure that every person is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.” Find vaccine facts and how you can support the campaign here.

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