In Memoriam — Al Martinez: More Than a Life Well-Lived

His voice was deep; his soul was too. His humor made you rock with laughter; his insight rocked your world. I never got to squeeze Al Martinez’s hand or give him a hug, though I often wanted to. We lived six hours apart, but when we talked by phone, Al, who died Jan. 12, was in my living room, sitting next to my desk. We laughed at each other’s jokes and exchanged sometimes thoughtful, sometimes silly emails about the topics …

Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015

What medical innovations will have the biggest impact in 2015? At the Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit this week, the top 10 list included a high-tech stroke ambulance, painless blood testing, new cancer therapies and a vaccine that could help 50 million to 100 million people in more than 100 countries. The list of up-and-coming technologies and drug therapies was chosen by a panel of 110 physicians and scientists, and announced at the conference in Cleveland. Here are their …

Wake Up and Go to Sleep

I have just returned from an all-night study of my sleep habits that should have been called an all-night study of my awake habits, because all during the study there’s no getting any sleep. You lie there as tense as death, hooked up to 17 electrodes that in turn are hooked up to electronic devices that study exactly how your body and your inner organs are doing while you are struggling to go to sleep, a struggle that keeps you …

‘Jaw-Dropping’ Drop in Hospitalizations, Deaths From Heart Disease

A new study of 34 million Medicare patients has found what one prominent heart researcher calls “jaw-dropping” reductions in hospitalizations and deaths from heart attacks and strokes over the past decade. According to the findings published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, the number of patients age 65-plus who were hospitalized with heart attacks dropped nearly 40 percent from 1999 to 2011, while those hospitalized with strokes caused by blood clots  fell by 34 percent. >> Top 15 Superfoods for …

To Strengthen Hearts, Medicare Changes Its Policy

After deliberating for a decade, Medicare recently announced that it will now cover cardiac rehab for some patients who suffer from stable but chronic heart failure, a costly, debilitating disease that could be improved with supervised exercise and counseling. Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s need for oxygen. Patients often suffer shortness of breath and swelling in their feet, ankles, legs and stomach from fluid buildup. Some 650,000 …

Rx for Heart Disease: Take 2 Walks and Call Me in the Morning

A major new study finds that exercise is as good – or in some cases better – than prescription drugs in protecting against future heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. The study, conducted by researchers from Harvard and Stanford universities, is among a very few trials that have directly compared an exercise regimen with medication. Researchers compared their effectiveness for patients with heart disease, heart failure and pre-type 2 diabetes, and