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Insider Q&A: Cigna CEO seeks deeper push into patient health

Call Cigna a health insurer, and CEO David Cordani will try to correct you.

He doesn’t consider the company a pharmacy benefit manager either, even though Cigna just spent roughly $52 billion on one of the country’s biggest prescription processors, Express Scripts.

The 52-year-old executive sees Cigna as a “health service company.” That bulky label reflects insurers’ growing interest in being involved in more than just waiting to handle bills from a claim after people get sick.

Cordani spoke recently with The Associated Press about this shift and other topics. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: One of the benefits from acquiring Express Scripts is more patient data. How will that affect a typical patient’s care?

A: You could more effectively predict health issues before they transpire. You can predict in many cases a heart attack … a high-risk maternity event, and then seek to engage with the physician and with the individual to effect lifestyle, behaviour or in some cases augment that with medications.

Q: You want to use this deal to expand what’s called value-based care, which shifts the financial focus to how a patient does instead of on what kind of treatment they receive. Why is this shift so important?

A: Everybody benefits, starting with the consumer: Better quality, better service, better outcome, and the practicing physicians are rewarded more meaningfully. The combined company will be able to expand and deepen those relationships significantly. Those that are creating the most value get rewarded more, and the consumer benefits by getting more personalized, higher-quality care.

Q: You talk about working with health coaches and case managers to help people. How would that work?

A: It’s lifestyle and physical activity. Figuring out creative ways to get the right physical activity that works for somebody to give them cardiovascular health is a life-changing event. But it’s got to be done in a way that works based on an individual’s lifestyle as opposed to the old archaic ways of incenting a gym membership.

Q: Is there a risk here of the insurer encroaching on the doctor’s turf, deciding what care is best for the patient?

A: We don’t seek to own the physicians. Our number one strategic imperative is to be the undisputed partner of choice. While that risk exists, we need to acknowledge it but make sure our actions reinforce that we’re trying to lock arms and enable. In some of our larger collaborative relationships, we employ and pay for health advisers, health coaches, nurses and will embed them in the physician’s office at the discretion and direction of the physician. We don’t tell them they have to, we offer it as a service.


Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy .

Tom Murphy, The Associated Press

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Veta Health inks deal with Boston Children’s Hospital for TriVox Health, HelpSteps

Digital health management platform Veta Health has inked a deal with Boston Children’s Hospital to acquire the licensing rights to two of the hospital’s digital health products, TriVox Health and HelpSteps. 

The plan is for is for Veta to integrate the features of TriVox and HelpSteps into its offerings. Veta said this integration could help the company expand its clinical capabilities. 

TriVox Health was designed to provide remote monitoring, real-time analysis and a history of a patient’s disease symptoms and responses to therapy over time. Clinics are able to get surveys and data remotely through the platform as well. HelpSteps was designed to help adolescence find access to social services. 

Why it matters

The new move is expected to help Veta Health move into the clinical side of healthcare and give the tools to more patients. 

“The patient care journey is about more than the time patients spend in the four walls of the hospital or doctor’s office. Extending care to the patient’s time away from traditional care settings is crucial to improving long-term health outcomes,” John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, said in a statement. “Given the significant strides that Veta Health has taken in the effort to improve ambulatory care through protocol-driven clinical pathways and the tremendous work accomplished by Trivox Health and HelpSteps to date, the potential of these platforms uniting is tremendous. We are immensely excited about the impact this will have on clinicians and patients alike.” 

What’s the trend

Boston Children’s has its own Digital Health Accelerator, which according to the webpage, has spun out 5 companies that have raised $15 million in funding. 

Boston Children’s Hospital also has a long history of interest in the digital health space. The hospital has collaborated with names in the field including CareDox, Buoy Health and GetWellNetwork

The organization has also been integrating Amazon’s Alexa. In early 2016, Boston Children’s Hospital was among the first healthcare organizations to leverage Amazon Alexa with KidsMD, a skill that helps parents understand their child’s symptoms, seek basic medication dosing guidance or decide whether an in-person visit is necessary. 

On the record 

“We’re thrilled that Boston Children’s Hospital is aligned with our mission to improve quality and consistency across ambulatory care settings,” Tanvi Abbhi, cofounder of Veta Health, said in a statement. “Bringing TriVox Health and HelpSteps on board significantly strengthens our market position and will allow us to even better serve our valuable partners through the development and deployment of standardized protocols in pediatric care.” 

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Health experts applaud Canada’s new food guide, though some question lack of portion sizes

Health experts have broadly come out in support of Canada’s revamped food guide, saying it represents a clear improvement over the 2007 version.

“This is a much better way of guiding Canadians in terms of how best to follow a healthy diet,” said Dr. David Lau, a professor of medicine and obesity researcher at the University of Calgary. Advocacy groups like the Canadian Medical Association and Heart Stroke have also issued statements approving of the new guide.


Canada’s new food guide emphasizes eating plants, drinking water and cooking at home

Rather than telling Canadians to eat a specific number of servings from each of the four food groups, like the old guide, the new version released Tuesday says to eat a variety of healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein foods – and among those, to choose plant-based proteins like legumes and nuts more often.

The old food guide’s emphasis on food servings and portions was confusing, said Dr. David Jenkins, a professor in the departments of nutritional sciences and medicine at the University of Toronto. “Let me ask you, what is a serving of banana?”

If no one understood what it was saying, he said, “How is that a food guide then?”

Totally removing portion sizes from the guide – though it may appear in later documents designed for health professionals – is something that Lau isn’t sure about though. “If anything, that’s about the only negative comment that people can make about this food guide: that they don’t talk about portion sizes.”

A picture of a plate, with one half containing fruits and vegetables, one-quarter protein and one-quarter whole grains is a central feature of the new food guide. Lau worries that some people could just add more fruits and vegetables to their plate, without reducing the protein and grain servings, and so make a much bigger meal.

An image from the website for Canada’s new food guide.

An image from the website for Canada’s new food guide.

Health Canada

Registered dietitian and lactation consultant Jessica Coll, who participated in the launch of the new food guide, isn’t so sure.

“Because portions are so specific to each person, I think it’s not a bad thing not to include them.”

People eat different amounts based on their size, how often they eat during the day, and how active they are, she said, so telling someone they have to eat a specific portion or number of servings is tricky.

WATCH: Health minister unveils Canada’s new food guide

Lau thinks some general advice, like using your fist to measure an approximate serving of grain, might be helpful.

Protein foods

He also thinks that making dairy and red meats simply one of many protein choices is a good move, not least because it makes the food guide’s recommendations more applicable to Canada’s ethnically-diverse population.

“Don’t forget there are some populations where dairy products are not prominent as part of their daily food consumption.”

“I love the variety of foods that are included in the new food guide from different cultures,” Coll said.

Researchers want the world to eat differently. Here’s what that diet might look like.

The arrangement of bright, fresh foods on the example plate has another drawback though: it’s not cheap to eat fresh vegetables and meat all the time.

“It’s more expensive, there is no question,” Lau said.

Food Secure Canada said in a statement that the guidelines are an important first step to addressing poverty and food insecurity in Canada, but that further steps, like school food programs and a comprehensive food policy for Canada, would ensure that healthy food is accessible to all.

Coll suggests that frozen vegetables and dried beans are healthy and affordable options that would fit within the guide’s recommendations.

WATCH: How to survive on a vegan diet

Home cooking

Health professionals also like the new food guide’s recommendations to cook more often and eat meals with others. Eating with your family forces you to slow down a little, said Lau.

“Many people just gulp down the food or inhale the food, so food becomes instead of being a source of energy, it becomes a way of just filling somebody’s tummy so they can go on to do other things.”

More home cooking also means less take-out and restaurant meals – something Lau said contributes to weight issues.

Coll agrees. “It can help support healthy eating, just because the foods that are chosen tend to be more nourishing because they’re not buying foods at restaurants or buying more processed foods.”

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The invisible workload of modern mothers, damaging their mental health

They say a mother’s work is never done. 

Scientists agree – and they warn the insurmountable pressure of taking care of the house, kids, their partner, and themselves inflicts an enormous toll on their health.  

According to a new study of hundreds of mothers, most heterosexual, married women still carry the bulk of responsibility for the household – even if they are employed and share many responsibilities with their husbands.

That ‘invisible labor’, they found, leaves women less satisfied with their lives and relationships, and more prone to distress and stress-related diseases. 

‘Even though women may be physically doing fewer loads of laundry, they continue to hold the responsibility for making sure the detergent does not run out, all the dirty clothes make it into the wash and that there are always clean towels available,’ first author Dr Lucia Ciciolla, assistant professor of psychology at Oklahoma State University, said.

‘Women are beginning to recognize they still hold the mental burden of the household even if others share in the physical work, and that this mental burden can take a toll.’

A study of hundreds of mothers found most carry the bulk of responsibility for the house, even if they are employed and share many chores with their husbands. That affects their health, experts say

A study of hundreds of mothers found most carry the bulk of responsibility for the house, even if they are employed and share many chores with their husbands. That affects their health, experts say

Senior author Professor Suniya Luthar, of Arizona State University, said: ‘Until recently, no one stopped to think about mom herself.

‘We need to attend to the well-being of moms if we want children to do well, and also for their own sakes.’

It’s widely recognized that, while gender dynamics have shifted, a deep-rooted status quo remains. 

Though men participate in housework and childcare more today than in the past, researchers have consistently found that women still manage the household, regardless of whether they work more or less than their husband.

To investigate how this impacts women’s health, researchers at ASU and OSU decided to interview women to find out how their responsibilities were divided and how it affected them, for a study published today in the journal Sex Roles.  

The team surveyed 393 women with children under age 18 who were married or in a committed partnership.

Most of the women were from middle-upper class homes and were highly educated – more than 70 percent had at least a college education.

The team measured the division of household labor by asking questions about who was in charge of three sets of tasks: organizing the family’s schedules, fostering children’s well-being, and making major financial decisions.

Separately, the researchers spoke to the women about their satisfaction with spouses or partners and their satisfaction with life overall, and how this related to housework.

The team also looked how invisible labor was linked to feelings of being overwhelmed and feelings of emptiness in their everyday lives. 

Sixty-five percent of the women were stay-at-home moms, while the rest worked full-time. And yet, 90 percent of women said they felt solely responsible for organizing schedules of the family.

At least seven in 10 women said they were also responsible for other areas of family routines such as maintaining standards for routines and assigning household chores.

Those in charge of the household felt overwhelmed with their role as parents, had little time for themselves and felt exhausted, according to the findings published in the journal Sex Roles.

Dr Luthar said: ‘Sole responsibility for household management showed links with moms’ distress levels, but with the almost 90 percent of women feeling solely responsible, there was not enough variability in the data to detect whether this association was statistically significant.

‘At the same time, there’s no question that constant juggling and multi-tasking at home negatively affects mental health.’

A large percentage of the women also felt that it was mostly them who were responsible for monitoring their children’s well-being and emotional states – something Dr Luthar said ‘clearly predicted’ feelings of emptiness in women.

Almost 80 percent said they were the one who knew the children’s school teachers, and two-thirds felt they were the most attentive to the children’s emotional needs. 

‘Research in developmental science indicates that mothers are first responders to kids’ distress,’ Dr Luthar said.

‘That is a very weighty job; it can be terrifying that you’re making decisions, flying solo, that might actually worsen rather than improve things for your children’s happiness.’ 

The one things that women felt their partners did help with was when it came to instilling values in children – a stereotypically fatherly role, further cementing the old-fashioned gender dynamics.

Only a quarter of women said they were solely responsible, and 72 percent said that it was generally shared equally with partners.

Financial decisions were also listed as shared responsibilities, with just over half of the women saying they made decisions about investments, holidays, major home improvements and buying a car together with their partner.

The researchers suspected that having an equal say, or more say, in determining finances could be empowering, and therefore positive. 

However, they found the pressure of organizing finances on top of everything else was too much. 

Experts on resilience in children agree that the most important protection for kids under stress is the well-being of the primary caregiver in the family, which is most commonly the mother.

But the researchers said that mothers must also feel nurtured and cared for if they are to have good mental health and be a positive parent.

When women feel overly responsible for the ‘invisible labor’ of running a household and raising children, researchers said it can have a bad impact on their overall well-being.

Dr Ciciolla said: ‘When mothers feel supported, they can have the emotional resources to cope well with the demands they faced.

‘Being able to address inequalities in invisible labor can allow women and families to create households that are more functional and less burdensome, and can also spare women mental gymnastics to find the space and time to care for themselves.’

Dr Luthar said clinical trials have shown that regular support groups with mothers in the workplace led to reductions in distress, burnout at work and the stress hormone cortisol.

She added: ‘Resilience rests, fundamentally, on relationships. As this is true for children, it is true for mothers who tend them.’ 

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Pelosi Works Her Health Care Strategy From Ground Up

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is laying out her strategy on health care and first up is improvements to “Obamacare” and legislation to lower prescription drug costs. “Medicare for all” will get hearings.

Pelosi and President Donald Trump have been sounding similar themes about the need to address the high drug costs. But her plans to broaden financial help for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act are unlikely to find takers among Republicans.

Either way, Democrats believe voters gave them a mandate on health care in the midterm elections that returned the House to their control.

Pushing her agenda, Pelosi is working from the ground up through major House committees. Her relationships with powerful chairmen and subcommittee chairs stretch back years. She’s “playing chess on three boards at once,” said Jim McDermott, a former Democratic congressman from Washington state, who predicts Pelosi’s most difficult challenge will be “herding new members” impatient for sweeping changes.

Responding to written questions from The Associated Press, Pelosi called the ACA “a pillar of health and financial security,” comparing it to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“Democrats have the opportunity not only to reverse the years of Republicans’ health care sabotage,” she said, “but to update and improve the Affordable Care Act to further lower families’ premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and expand coverage.”

Legislation from Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Workforce and Education Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., would broaden the number of people who can get financial assistance with their premiums under the Obama health law, and undo the “family glitch” that prevents some from qualifying for subsidies. It would also restore the advertising budget slashed by Trump and block some of his administration’s health insurance alternatives.

Those issues are separate from legal questions raised by ongoing Republican litigation to overturn the health law. The Democratic-led House has voted to intervene in the court case to defend the law.

The 2010 health law belonged as much to Pelosi as to former President Barack Obama, said McDermott. “She’s taking `Obamacare’ and very carefully figuring out where you have to support it,” he said.

The House ACA package has little chance as a stand-alone bill. But parts of it could become bargaining chips when Congress considers major budget legislation.

On prescription drugs, Trump and the Democrats are occupying some of the same rhetorical territory, an unusual circumstance that could bring about unexpected results.

Both say Americans shouldn’t have to keep paying more for medications than consumers in other economically advanced countries where governments regulate prices.

The Trump administration has designed an experiment to apply international pricing to Medicare “Part B” drugs administered in doctors’ offices.

Pelosi wants to expand price relief to retail pharmacy drugs that seniors purchase through Medicare’s “Part D” prescription drug benefit, a much bigger move. A bill introduced by leading Democrats would authorize Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies using international prices as a fallback.

“President Trump said he’d `negotiate like crazy’ to bring down Medicare prescription drug prices, and since the midterm election he’s spoken about working with Democrats,” Pelosi wrote to AP. “We have an opportunity to enact the tough legislative negotiating authority needed to actually lower prescription drug prices for consumers.”

One of the top Senate Republicans on health care says he’s not inclined to do that. Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa says having private insurers negotiate with drug companies has worked.

“Part D is the only federal program I’ve been involved with that has come in under budget,” said Grassley. “If it’s working, don’t mess with it.”

Nonetheless, former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, a Republican, said Medicare is “a good example of places where the administration might surprise.”

“Prescription drug pricing is in a category where both the president and the Democrats have made a commitment,” Leavitt added. “There will be a lot of division, but in the end there is a very good chance they will find a way that they can both claim victory.”

But the biggest health care idea among Democrats is “Medicare for all,” and on that, Pelosi is cautious. To those on the left, “M4A” means a government-run health care system that would cover every American. That would require major tax increases and a big expansion of government.

Pelosi has tapped two committees, Budget and Rules, to handle “Medicare for all.” Health care legislation doesn’t usually originate in either of them.

Says Pelosi: “We’re going to have hearings.”

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Canada’s revamped Food Guide has finally caught up with scientific evidence

Three years ago, when the federal government asked Canadians about their needs and expectations for their national food guide, I offered a wish list of changes in my column. Turns out, my wishes were granted this week when Health Canada revealed its overhauled Canada’s Food Guide.

This version has caught up with scientific evidence on diet and health. Here’s why.

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Easy to understand. The guide’s dietary recommendations aren’t complicated. Eat a variety of healthy foods each day. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat protein foods. Choose whole-grain foods. Make water your drink of choice.

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The picture on the front of the guide, a photograph of real food on a plate (not illustrated foods on a rainbow) is also effective. The message is pretty simple: Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits, one-quarter with protein and one-quarter with whole grains.

Whole foods, not nutrients. The Food Guide now directs people to whole foods, and has done away with recommending a certain number of daily food-group servings to meet nutrient needs (e.g., calcium from dairy, iron from meat).

Eating the right foods instead of fussing over individual nutrients is the way to go, because if you base your diet on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and lentils, fish, lean meat, yogurt and so on, you’re going to be consuming plenty of nutrients.

Since 2007, nutrition research has taught us that it’s the overall pattern of our diet that matters when it comes to health.

No more focus on meat. The decision to replace nutrient-based food groups with groupings of foods (e.g., protein foods versus “Meat and Alternatives”) has removed the emphasis on meat.

Lean meat is included as one of the guide’s protein foods (along with fish, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and nuts), but it’s no longer the main attraction. And that’s a good thing.

High intakes of red meat have been tied to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. Eating more protein from plants compared to meat, on the other hand, has been associated with a lower risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease.

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Downsizing the importance of meat in the diet also reflects findings from environmental research on optimal food choices.

Advice on highly processed foods. The revised guide recommends that we don’t eat processed or prepared foods and beverages on a regular basis, to avoid consuming too much added sugar, sodium and saturated fat.

That’s important advice since our increasing reliance on ready-to-eat, ready-to-drink and ready-to-heat highly processed foods has been correlated with higher obesity rates, metabolic syndrome and unhealthy blood-cholesterol levels.

Thanks to their high content of unhealthy fats, sugars, salt and other additives, highly processed foods are intensely palatable, which can make them habit-forming. Plus, they’re low in or lacking fibre, protective phytochemicals and vitamins and minerals that whole foods contain.

Includes advice on how to eat. Over the past several decades, the way we purchase and prepare foods has dramatically changed. We eat more meals away from home, we spend less time cooking and we eat too many processed, packaged foods.

The implications: unhealthy diets, missed opportunities for kids to gain cooking skills and knowledge, and the decline of family meals, which have been associated with nutritional and psychosocial benefits for children.

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For the first time, Canada’s Food Guide strongly makes the important point that “healthy eating is more than the foods you eat.” It’s also about the context in which we eat.

Advice to “be mindful of your eating habits,” “cook more often,” “enjoy your food,” “eat meals with others,” “use food labels” and “be aware of food marketing” encourage food skills that support healthy eating.

Health Canada has committed to stay on top of the evidence to ensure that our food guidance is continually relevant. We shouldn’t have to wait another 12 years for an update.

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is director of food and nutrition at Medcan.

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Patches of good health; Facebook’s disinformation fight; Uber’s shift

Someday soon, perhaps within a year, you’ll be able to slap a soft, stretchy patch on to your arm that tells you if you’re dehydrated. Or that your electrolytes are dangerously out of balance. Or even that you have diabetes. Way smaller than fitness trackers, a new generation of devices might analyze sweat for many chemicals at once, producing a snapshot of the wearer’s health or fitness. The latest advance, described Friday in the journal Science Advances, provides information on the wearer’s pH, sweat rate, and levels of chloride, glucose and lactate — high levels of which could signal cystic fibrosis, diabetes or a lack of oxygen.

Uber said Monday it is raising the minimum age of its drivers in the Netherlands and taking other measures to increase road safety after a series of fatal accidents there. It is lifting the minimum age from 18 to 21 years for drivers and insisting that they have at least one year of driving experience. Those under 25 will be required to take a traffic safety course.

1 million

That’s at least how many fake accounts Facebook shuts down each day, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said as she discussed the company’s role in stopping disinformation. TechCrunch reported that Sandberg made those comments at the annual DLD conference in Munich, held before the World Economic Forum. TechCrunch quoted Sandberg as saying that Facebook employs 30,000 people to check for hate posts and misinformation.

Daily Briefing is compiled from San Francisco Chronicle staff and news services. Twitter: @techchronicle

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For Your Health: Make time for good health with these five tips

Vaccines have not been scientifically linked to autism, but they do cause some side effects.
Russ Zimmer

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Your Good Health: Diet a good way to control irritable bowel syndrome

Dear Dr. Roach: I have dealt with irritable bowel syndrome for more than 40 years. I have had less cramping and loose stools when I quit drinking milk. However, now over the past few years I have had mild constipation and very frequent bloating. I take dicyclomine, 10 mg, before meals and bedtime, that helps a little with spasms. When bloating is more constant, I take Phazyme, Tums and Pepto-Bismol, along with 150-mg ranitidine, which helps a little. I am concerned that I am taking too many types of pills to control it. I have been getting acid reflux lately and feel pressure in the stomach and up under the breast bone with a lot of burping.

My question is if it is OK to take all of these pills within a couple of hours, or is there a better alternative?

I wore a heart monitor for a month because of irregular heartbeats and heavy heart beat. Incidences were recorded, but it wasn’t severe enough to be concern with right now. I feel the problem was caused by the pressure of bloating.


Irritable bowel syndrome is a common (10 to 15 per cent of adults) disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, manifested by abdominal pain or discomfort and bloating, along with changes in bowel movements, such as diarrhea or constipation. Abdominal discomfort is typically relieved by a bowel movement in IBS.

Primary treatment for IBS is an appropriate diet and relationship with food. Stopping milk, for example, seemed to have helped you a lot.

It is possible other dietary changes may reduce the need for medication, and a meeting with a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist dietitian may be have a dramatic effect on your symptoms. Many foods (known as FODMAPs, for “fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols”) can worsen symptoms, and learning how to reduce these takes more space than I have in 10 columns.

Dicyclomine is an antispasmodic that helps some people with IBS. Phazyme is a brand of simethicone, an anti-gas agent; Tums is an antacid; Pepto-Bismol is an antidiarrheal and antimicrobial; and ranitidine partially suppresses stomach acid. None of these is specific for irritable bowel syndrome, and all are generally considered safe with few serious adverse effects. I’m not sure how many of your symptoms are due to acid reflux (acid going backward from the stomach, up into the esophagus) and how many are due to IBS. I agree with you that you may not need all these medications. Try tapering them off, especially if you are able to find some dietary treatment.

Irregular heartbeats are common and without additional concerning symptoms, such as fainting or chest discomfort, may not need further evaluation unless they continue to bother you.

Dear Dr. Roach: I’ve been recommended a supplement made from powdered fruits and vegetables. Would this be beneficial?


I believe in getting nutrition from food, not supplements, whenever possible. Supplements should be used for specific issues or concerns and not to promote general health, with a very few possible exceptions (omega 3 and vitamin D supplements remain controversial). I would rather you spend your money on an extra serving or two of fruits and vegetables a day than take a powdered supplement.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to

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New Marion Institute director has focus on healthy living

MARION — The Marion Institute is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new executive director, Liz Wiley.

But it’s more like a return engagement that both she and the Marion Institute staff are excited about.

The Marion Institute is a nonprofit organization that promotes innovative health and healthy living alternatives through education and networking programs, scholarships and referral services. Wiley worked for the institute from 2013 until 2016.

She’s returning because of how well the institute’s current goal of changing health care’s approach, from just treating symptoms to treating the whole person, fits in with Wiley’s own goals.

“We are promoting and referring people to a more state-of-the art holistic health care approach,” Patti Rego, MI’s marketing director, said. “Liz was spoken of very highly by the staff who knew her for her energy and commitment to being healthy and making the community healthier. She was a perfect fit with her background. With our new focus it was important to find a person living what we believe in. She does that. We try to emulate what we promote here, practice what we preach.”

“What’s cool about the institute is that it has always been ahead of the curve on issues that are important,” Wiley said. “It is now planning to focus primarily on health and wellness through what is called bio-regulatory medicine. It’s an exciting change to be part of.”

Not coincidentally, this new plan of action follows closely upon the Institute’s October 2018 opening of the BioMed Center in Providence, RI, where people may go for a deeper root-cause examination and treatment of their ailments.

It was a similar clinic in Switzerland to which Marion Institute founders Michael and Marge Baldwin brought their nine-year-old son Nathaniel to treat his leukemia 25 years ago. Nathaniel is now a healthy 33-year-old.

Marion Institute’s BioMed program director Jane Dolan helped found the new Providence center. Dolan said the only BioMed Center in the U.S. previously was in Arizona. Establishing one in Providence was an effort to give patients a shorter distance to travel for the same non-traditional but many times more effective level of treatment. Plus, Dolan noted, the Providence BioMed center offers a dental care component that the Arizona clinic does not.

The Marion Institute describes itself as an organizational hub for programs focused on innovative approaches to healthcare, community-building, and sustainable lifestyles, including BioMed Programs (BioMed Network and the Bio-regulatory Medicine Institute) and Grow Education. The Marion Institute is also a fiscal sponsor for a range of smaller organizations which are working toward their charitable certification and are in need of administrative support and guidance.

Wiley said she was motivated to return to the Marion Institute because “I love what this institution stands for and the timing was perfect.”

It’s an understatement to say she is ready to get to work. The first goal, she said, is working on is recreating the mission and vision statements, looking at all of the institute’s programs to align them with its new mission and focus, and yet stay relevant to the community we serve.

Wiley, who lives with her family in Wareham, has a background in biology and environmental and social issues and has taught classes at Bristol Community College and Boston University. She has a master’s in organizational management and leadership from Antioch University-New England.

Her first goal as the new executive director of the Marion Institute is “to look ahead to the Marion Institute’s next 25 years,” she said, without sounding intimidated by that fact. “We are looking forward to what we want to create for generations to come.”

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