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Posted on January 6, 2017 at 9:23 AM

In a quest for health news which might spark some meaningful
topic worth sharing with the Bioethics community, I was repeatedly dismayed at
the number of articles offering relatively little useful information at all. In
fact, there seemed to be a surprising number of articles that offer scientific
support for topics that might be tempting for a superficial glance, but do not
add meaningfully to the much broader well-being of individuals and communities.
I strongly support using any tools necessary to disseminate health information
to persons who may benefit from evidence based health information, but the
focus of this effort ought to address more meaningful goals of medicine and
human welfare.

An article published in Substance
Use and Misuse
points out that of the over 15,000 individuals there was no
significant relationship between alcohol consumption and physical activity (PA)
study link. This
article offers common sense health advice for future efforts: “Prevention
programs to increase PA levels from low to moderate combined with a reduction
of alcohol intake in men who regularly drink alcohol should be considered.”
This conclusion is based on the finding that persons who drink heavily also
have lower physical activity levels. Hardly seems groundbreaking. Yet, if there
had been a correlation suggesting that heavy drinkers are also quite physically
active, what would this offer as a useful nugget of health information? Don’t
worry about heavy alcohol consumption?

Studying the long term effect of wearing high heel shoes has
also gained attention in the media and academic literature. Though, in
fairness, I suppose someone has to study it so we can provide evidence based practice
considerations to persons who develop foot or ankle problems, or are required
to wear high heels as part of a work uniform. “One condition known to compound
the difficulty of walking is the use of high heeled shoes.”  study link #2.  I believe all who have worn high heels are
likely to agree on this point. The piece does offer some considerations about
blood flow to the lower extremities, which could be helpful to physicians
treating patients with high heeled related ambulatory difficulties, so a
relevant factor in advising patients. Nonetheless, it seems a bit startling
that such research is surfacing in the media to answer this question for
consumers.  A recent New York Times blog (
titled “Reducing the frequency of wearing high-heeled shoes and increasing
ankle strength can prevent ankle injury in women” leads off with a critique of
having a character run from Jurassic dinosaurs while she is wearing high heels,
and offers evidence for negative effects of long term high heeled shoe wearing.
Just in case there was any doubt, the article concludes with sound advice for not
wearing high heels as the footwear of choice if escaping a fast moving deadly

Media is a powerful too, and so is scientific inquiry. I
believe the public can digest more meaningful discussions of health related
matters than those which confirm common sense.

 The Alden March Bioethics Institute offers a Master of Science in Bioethics, a Doctorate of Professional Studies in Bioethics, and Graduate Certificates in Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethics Consultation. For more information on AMBI’s online graduate programs, please visit our website.



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