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Cut back on coal to reduce toxic exposure to mercury

By Ira Zunin
Last week, this column covered the Great Barrier Reef and the loss of more than half its coral cover over the past 30 years. With supportive financing for massive coal projects in Queensland, Australia, the potential exists for still more harm to our world's reefs, oceans and wildlife, all of which will influence human health.

Great Barrier Reef faces more threats to its survival

By Ira Zunin
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest living structure made up of billions of tiny interconnected coral polyps that support tremendous diversity. Stretching 1,400 miles along the east coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space, like the Great Wall of China.

Isles' autistic kids, families will benefit from Luke's Law

By Ira Zunin
Senate Bill 791, also known as Luke's Law, passed late Friday night. It is named after Luke, a 14-year-old with autism who lives on Hawaii island. His mother, Geri Pinnow, advocated for the bill's passing and attended numerous hearings throughout the legislative session.

Absence of infrastructure exacerbates chaos in Nepal

By Ira Zunin
During a medical mission to Nepal several weeks ago, my 19-year-old nephew remarked that despite its unstable government and lack of infrastructure, the people there seem to get by fairly well.

Ensure best kupuna care with team-based approach

By Pia Lorenzo Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 25, 2015
The respect and care of our kupuna is a cornerstone of Hawaiian culture. Our kupuna hold the wisdom and knowledge of years gone by and the capacity to teach traditions that will be carried on for generations to come.

Food redistribution is key to reducing waste, hunger

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 25, 2015
Obesity and starvation are among the world's two greatest ills. Wasted food is a major factor in exacerbating wealth and health disparities.

Solar bringing big change in the electricity business

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 25, 2015
Hawaii is on the cutting edge as a national leader in clean energy. More than 12 percent of Hawaiian Electric's customers have already "gone solar" and now enjoy clean power and lower electrical bills.

GMO and pesticide battle heats up legislative activity

By BRANDON ZUNIN Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
After their surprise and stunning victory against Monsanto and the big agrochemical companies in the Maui ballot initiative in November 2014, the Center for Food Safety and the entire anti-GMO, anti-pesticide movement decided to pursue their policy agenda aimed at environmental health and safety with initiatives that establish pesticide buffer zones around schools and hospitals in Hawaii and require notification disclosure of restricted-use pesticides near sensitive populations.

Amid the hustle and bustle, keeping it simple is crucial

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Simplicity is underrated. Instead, modern civilization is habituated to productivity and consumption. We send our children to school and ply them with extracurricular activities while maintaining a view toward higher education and good jobs.

Technology in development could change role of cities

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
The ancient trend of human movement from rural life to urban centers may now be upended by emerging technologies. Low-cost desalinization, highly efficient battery storage, renewable energy and mobile communications all serve to reduce dependence on the world's cities for water, power and human interaction.

Under-the-tongue remedies are new option for allergies

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
During the long course of evolution, human beings gradually developed an exquisitely sensitive immune system. Designed to protect against disease, one of its main jobs is to distinguish between foreign agents and one's own healthy tissues, a job that in modern society has become much more difficult.

Villagers’ lifestyle presents unique treatment challenge

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
During a recent medical mission to Asia, I held several clinics for a small, extremely remote village of ethnic Tibetans living at high altitud

China's new focus on quality could pay off for its citizens

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Last week as I was returning from China, its central bank cut interest rates for the second time in roughly three months, and Premier Li Keqiang lowered the economic growth target to 7 percent for 2015.

Farming program in Nepal helps sustain education

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
I recently had an opportunity to visit a fledgling, yet remarkably successful, Waldorf School and biodynamic farm in Pokhara, Nepal. Biodynamic farming is founded on the principle that bringing vitality to the soil causes plants to thrive and nourishes people and animals living on the land.

Strife at government level imperils health of civilians

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Recently, while en route to Kathmandu, Nepal, for a medical mission, my nephew lingered a few extra days in Bangkok because of civil unrest in Nepal. Legislators in the Nepalese Constituent Assembly had been throwing microphones and breaking desks. During the ensuing scuffle, several security officers were injured.

Thai hospital offers Hawaii a model for medical tourism

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
En route recently to Nepal for a medical mission, I stopped in Bangkok and had an opportunity to view Bumrungrad International Hospital, long known as a first mover and market leader in medical tourism.

Thailand's instability affects accessibility of health care

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
En route to Katmandu, Nepal, for a medical mission, my nephew and I had to take pause in Bangkok because of civil unrest in Nepal.

Beware of potential risks from electronic cigarettes

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Tobacco continues to be big business — a $35 billion market — but electronic cigarettes are burning away at the market share. E-cigarettes are booming. New technologies claim reduced adverse health effects compared with tobacco smoking.

At-home tests can advance treatment of sleep disorders

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Doctors estimate that 18 million to 20 million Americans have moderate to severe sleep apnea, which is characterized as pauses in breathing during sleep. Of these, 80 percent are unaware that they have it.

Monitoring is vital to stop prescription drug abuse

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Prescription drug monitoring programs are an essential way to prevent illegal diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and a keystone in curbing the prescription drug abuse epidemic.

Time is now for transition to sustainable energy future

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
Among the landmark issues affecting the health of the blue planet in 2015 is whether the fracking boom will be leveraged to develop sustainable energy resources for the long run.

Let's seize the chance to have better health for all

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
A fresh window of opportunity is open for the health of residents and visitors in Hawaii. Although much remains to be done, the greatest challenges faced by health care reform, Obama­care, are now behind us. The aim of improved access to quality care combined with cost containment is within reach.

Focus on feet to stave off diabetes' dire consequences

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
You finally get home after grocery shopping and you suddenly hear your grandson shout, "Papa, your foot is bleeding!" You turn your eyes to the floor in disbelief only to realize that your foot is indeed bloody and that you have left a trail of blood all along your kitchen floor.

Diabetes is least desirable gift to get during holidays

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 04, 2015
As tasty pastries and sugary holiday cheer is exchanged throughout the workplace in Hawaii, I am reminded that diabetes andobesity are directly and indirectly among the leading causes of illness and reduced productivity.

Thanksgiving imu reflects gratitude and togetherness

By Brandon Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
This Thanksgiving marked the 15th year I felt the heat of the imu as we lifted 500 turkeys onto steaming banana stalks at the Kua­loa-Heeia Ecumenical Youth Project. Among my earliest memories as a young child was the sense of awe I felt as many hands worked together amid the savory steam.

Follow NASA's lead in keeping electronic health records

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
To avoid damage to communications from working satellites, the NASA Orbital Debris Program tracks half a million pieces of space junk that orbit Earth. The debris is an accumulation of flotsam and jetsam dating back to the first space programs.

Recession impels Shriners to emerge even stronger

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
The Great Recession appears to have awoken a sleeping giant: Shriners Hospitals for Children, Hono­lulu. Prior to 2010, Shriners Hospitals — which is based in Tampa, Fla., and operates 22 medical facilities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico — relied strictly on endowment.

Sensory processing disorder deserves parity with autism

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
During the last legislative session, Senate Bill 2054 was introduced to require the Insurance Commissioner to analyze the projected costs of providing insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. This column came out in favor of the bill.

Panel pushes stricter rules to curb abuse of painkillers

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Deaths resulting from narcotic overdoses now exceed the number of those who die from car accidents in Hawaii. Throughout the United States, narcotic abuse, diversion and addiction are on the rise.

Energy efficiency is vital to the health of a building

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Buildings are no longer simply comfortable, functional shelters to live and work in. Empowered by technology and in response to climate change, buildings are increasingly becoming highly adaptable intermediaries between our interior space and the environment at large.

Quality of life is vital factor in health care interventions

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
A prominent researcher from the National Institutes of Health once told me that the best health care is "everything I choose to prescribe, order and do for my patients," according to physicians.

Leg pain in elderly might be sign of blocked arteries

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
If grandpa complains of chest pain we call an ambulance, but if he complains of leg pain while walking to the mailbox, we tell him he's getting old. Cardiac chest pain, also called angina, typically results from blockage in the coronary vessels that feed the heart muscle.

By adjusting your lifestyle, you, too, might reach 100

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Why do some people live long healthy lives while others seem to fall ill early and often and then succumb to chronic disease? Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones and National Geographic Fellow, traveled across the globe to find the secret behind longevity.

Fracking's threat to health, environment raises alarm

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Fracking has rapidly begun to move the United States toward energy independence, but at what price? Given the current state of affairs, in which the Middle East is in tatters, the Cold War with Russia looks to have returned and both India and China boast an accelerating appetite for fuel, this technological breakthrough could not have come at a better time.

UnitedHealthcare listens to worries and makes fixes

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest managed-care insurance company, was taken to task last year by the assistant secretary of defense for causing delays in medical treatment.

Caregivers in long-term situations need help, too

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
To serve as a caregiver for a family member is, for many, an important chance to give back. Yet whether caregiving is offered out of love or obligation, it tends to take its toll. Caregivers often decide to stick it out until the person they care for has passed.

Iyengar transformed yoga into a worldwide practice

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
B.K.S. Iyengar died Aug. 20 at the age 95 from a viral illness. He had been the dominant figure behind the modern yoga movement for decades.

State has defense in place to combat threat of Ebola

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Patients are beginning to share their increasing concerns about the recent spread of Ebola in West Africa. While it is prudent for the people of Hawaii and the Department of Health to remain vigilant about global trends of any infectious disease, there is no imminent cause for alarm.

Hepatitis C drug highlights dilemmas of cost, access

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Gilead Sciences recently brought to market a product called Sovaldi, a breakthrough treatment for the most common form of hepatitis C. The total medication cost is roughly $84,000 per patient, or $1,000 per day for 12 weeks. The new medication works well and cures the disease in about 90 percent of cases.

Envisioning a partnership of fast food and Big Pharma

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Imagine if one of the nation's largest fast-food chains merged with a major pharmaceutical company. The alliance would ensure a robust supply chain of high-fructose corn syrup, saturated fat and salt into the stomachs of consumers and optimize sales of medication for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Obamacare eases access to alternative treatments

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Integrative medicine -- which calls for a patient-centered, culturally sensitive, whole-person, multidisciplinary approach to care -- has the potential to become a cornerstone in the national effort to increase access to quality health care at a reasonable cost.

Solution to border problems will require tough decisions

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
The sight of a beggar, paralyzed from the waist down by polio, dragging himself through the muddy streets of India is a memory not easily forgotten. Yet, there is a world of difference between an impoverished society and a fractured nation.

Buzz-worthy bioengineering has sound fundamentals

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Imagine using gene therapy to grow a new biological pacemaker for your heart. That's right. No operation. No implanted device. No batteries. No electrodes.

Turmoil in Asia could drive capital to markets in U.S.

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
As the United States began downsizing its military and Vladi­mir Putin's Russia swallowed the Crimea with only nominal opposition from the West, China has decidedly toughened its stance in the China Sea.

Sailing canoe tries its hand at freight transportation

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Rangi was built to test the commercial viability of carrying freight and passengers for short hauls within the Pacific. It is a part of the heritage of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia who sailed across the oceans using non­in­stru­ment navigation.

Technology lets community journey along with voyagers

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
One is totally isolated when sailing across the most remote parts of the deep blue ocean on a traditional-style Polynesian voyaging canoe, unless you have R2D2 on the back of your canoe. Actually, we do.

Worldwide voyage shows potential for cargo canoes

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Hikianalia, Hokule‘a's sister canoe, which was built for the vessels' worldwide voyage, is distinguished by her solar-powered electric motor and large bank of lithium batteries.

Cultural reawakening brings Marquesas back from brink

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
The quest for cultural harmony on Island Earth is central to malama honua (caring for the earth), the mission of the worldwide voyage of Hoku­le‘a and Hikianalia, two traditional-style Polynesian voyaging canoes whose navigators use non-instrument, star navigation.

Ocean Elders back up talk of protecting environment

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
The Ocean Elders variously represent royalty, rock ’n’ roll, private business and academia. Several members have served in high-level government posts. They are the real deal, unlike some others who are trying to capitalize on climate change.

Canoes' medical officers are ready for any scenario

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Medical officers selected to care for crews aboard Hoku­le‘a and Hikianalia during the international portion of the Worldwide Voyage prepare to practice austere, blue-water, wilderness medicine.

Voyaging canoes can boost isle nations' sustainability

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Keen awareness of environmental challenges faced by our blue planet must be combined with creative and practical solutions that bring prosperity. The greatest obstacle to sustainability is immediate self-interest.

Father's spirit is deeply felt as Hokule'a voyage begins

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
As my father took his final breaths this week, he said, "Let my passing be a celebration of the worldwide voyage."

Voyaging canoes could help bring balance to health care

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
The resurgence in Polynesian voyaging throughout the Pacific was made possible by the rediscovery of the ancient skills of the navigator. It created the opportunity to revive the traditional role of the kauka (doctor) on board.

Restoring balance in life can help fix harmful fatigue

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
No question, fatigue impairs productivity, erodes safety, increases risk and affects company morale. Fatigue is the final common denominator for a human system that is off-form and out of balance.

Occupational therapists bring value to workplace

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Among the health professions, occupational therapists are poised to be highly impactful allies for families, workers and employers. They are trained to help people achieve the highest potential possible by playing to their unique strengths as they relate to specific environments and desired activities.

Billing abuse just another aspect of Medicare's flaws

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Not all health providers accept Medicare insurance, the federal program for seniors. The vast majority of those who do are completely ethical and bill as accurately as possible for services rendered.

Healthy homes offer option to assisted-living facilities

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Despite the surge in attractive, high-quality assisted-living facilities, most people would much prefer to live independently and remain in their own homes as long as possible. The houses in which we have raised our children, however great or modest, are our palaces.

Development in Kakaako booms as nature neglected

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
It seems there is no end to ambitions for more high-rises built with capital organized from some of Hawaii's largest stakeholders. Is Honolulu destined to become like Singapore, which has a land mass half the size of Oahu but more than five times the population?

Intimacy of printed books essential to healthy society

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Our family was heartbroken when we heard of the closure of Barnes & Noble at Kahala Mall. Printed matter, respectfully bound or carefully folded, offers a unique relationship to the reader.

Bill makes progress toward better access to medical pot

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Hawaii has yet to craft a functional law that addresses medical marijuana for chronic disease. Progress to date has been incremental but in the right direction.

Expanded health coverage is a must to help autistic kids

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Patients with autism spectrum disorder are fragile and vulnerable members of our society and should have access to necessary medical care. In recent years, the majority of American states have passed legislation which ensures that this population receives basic mental health services.

Detecting clogged arteries is difficult but key to health

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
About $3.6 trillion is what the United States spent on health care in 2013, 3.7 percent more than 2012. Projections for 2014 anticipate a further increase of 6.1 percent. This expanded insurance coverage is made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

Technology can turn homes into lifelong health havens

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Today the ideal home is far more than a convenient layout of bricks and mortar. Prospective buyers have begun to look at the place they live as an opportunity to create a healthy, environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle for the family from cradle to grave.

In-home technology helps prolong independent living

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Imagine an electronic device that knows whether you've taken important medication and reports that to your health provider. Although our soon-to-be elderly are healthier, more active and better educated than the previous generations, aging still comes with disabilities.

Suu Kyi faces same issues that Mandela confronted

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
This is the third of three columns I've devoted to health care in Myanmar. The previous two articles covered the dire state of health care in Myanmar and described one hospital that survives on donated resources.

Patients in Myanmar rely on foreign doctors to fill gap

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Health care in Myanmar, also known as Burma, depends upon donated resources. I just returned from the interior after evaluating strategies for medical and humanitarian service.

Political will is needed to fix Myanmar's vast health woes

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is ranked at the very bottom of 190 countries for overall health system performance, according to the World Health Organization.

Cardiovascular benefits seen in therapy for metal poisoning

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Chelating agents were originally used to treat heavy metal poisoning from chemical warfare during World War I. Since then these treatments have been found useful to manage elevated levels of heavy metals from other causes.

Dementia, improper ER visits should also be on CDC's radar

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
The National Institutes of Health's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is charged with the mission of reducing disease not only in the United States, but also across the globe.

Get your body in physical and mental shape this year

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
How are those New Year's resolutions holding up? Tips: The first ingredient to success is to set goals that are realistic and achievable. They must be not only humanly possible, but also logistically feasible. Does it fit in the schedule? How long is the drive?

Chinese visitors may revive focus on medical tourism

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Accelerating numbers of Chinese visitors to the islands represent a refreshed and unprecedented opportunity for health tourism.

Cooperation needed to close social divide for better world

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Socioeconomic inequality is among the greatest ills of modern society. Disparities in health, education and crime share a common root. Our collective ability to close this great divide is a prerequisite to peace on earth.

Hot-button issues provoke strong reader response

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
It's hard to imagine a more tumultuous year for the Wealth of Health in Hawaii than the one about to end. This column highlights the hottest stories of 2013 based on the volume and intensity of comments from our readers on both sides of key issues.

Ballooning cost of dementia goes beyond dollars, cents

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
If dementia were a country, it would be the world's 21st-largest economy, ranking between Poland and Saudi Arabia, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

Responsible ADHD diagnoses begin with multistep process

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Nearly 1 in 5 high school boys and 11 percent of all schoolchildren have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to The New York Times. This represents a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 41 percent rise in the past decade.

Windward imu benefits community, hungry folks

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Ten thousand dollars was raised by the KEY Project this year to send a local high school student to nursing school. The 500 imu turkeys that generated these scholarship funds also made a profound contribution to the many hands that prepared them and the many mouths that enjoyed them.

Inaccurate calorie counts will keep the pounds on

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 06, 2014
Accountants are sometimes disparagingly called "bean counters," but the truth is that counting beans is much like counting money. Body weight is the result of calories consumed minus calories burned just as net income is revenue less expenses.

Staying home when sick benefits yourself, others

By Brandon Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Ira Zunin has turned today's column over to his son Brandon Zunin. Brandon, a junior at Punahou School, is opinions editor of Punahou's student-generated newspaper, Ka Punahou, and editor of Ka Wai Ola student magazine.

Too much testosterone can be costly in older men

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
The most dangerous drug-drug interaction, joked an old professor during a med school pharmacology lecture, is testosterone and ethanol. The class cracked up as he conjured up images of young men binge-drinking and doing crazy things.

School robotics teams work toward medical innovations

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Robotics has the potential to revolutionize the art of medicine. Today at the nation’s elite universities, teams of students are harnessing the emerging science of robotics to create prototype designs that could solve some of today’s most baffling medical problems.

Insurance, safety sectors leverage fear for profit

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
"Fear is hugely more important than euphoria," according to Alan Green­span, former Federal Reserve chairman who served for nearly 19 years.

Outcry over new solar rules putting pressure on HECO

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Hawaiian Electric Co. continues to be under fire for its Sept. 6 procedural changes for new solar installations. Two weeks ago, this column covered concerns on the part of consumers that had contracted to install solar systems and on the part of industry leadership.

Commercialized yoga is far from ancient, spiritual roots

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Last week a woman waiting to check out at a local health food store observed a buff figure in front of her making a hard sell to the cashier. "If I give you this coupon, would you come to my yoga class?"

Delay in solar approvals poses health consequences

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
To combat climate change and move away from fossil fuels toward energy independence, several years ago the federal government rolled out a 30 percent tax credit for solar installations.

Do not be fooled by claims of pre-workout supplements

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Some supplement manufacturers would like their customers to think otherwise. Patients now often ask about "pre-workout" supplements, wondering whether they are safe and effective.

Slim down on low-carb diet with organic, local aspects

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
The call from his medical director came as we touched down in New York in April 2003. My consulting firm, Global Advisory Services, had been contracted by the largest manufacturer of Chinese herbs outside of China to help the company establish four integrative clinics in Australia and two in Singapore.

Humans’ abuse of oceans ultimately risks our health

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
This time last year, I was on the open ocean serving as medical officer on a traditional-style Polynesian voyaging canoe sailing from New Zealand to Tahiti. Our stalwart captain charted a southern route to capture the most reliable yet fierce winds.

Bill jump-starts discussion about our end-of-life wishes

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
My father suffers from end-stage Parkinson's disease and associated dementia. Several weeks ago he was admitted to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia. One week after discharge my family elected to withdraw his remaining IV and initiate him in home hospice.

Investing in health care requires caution, patience

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Financial pundits continue to study how the Accountable Care Act (ACA), the manifesto for health care reform, will affect health industry stocks as it continues to roll out.

Society also suffers when folks eat too much sugar

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
In recent years, the state Legislature has been party to several failed attempts at passing a soda tax despite well-constructed bills and, most recently, a priority commitment on the part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie to get it done.

All society suffers with lack of resources for mentally ill

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
In the United States, treatment for the mentally ill is underfunded and resources are poorly allocated. Misguided policies at the state and national level result in tremendous human suffering and increased homelessness at a high cost to society.

Private practice is daunting for modern-day physicians

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Truth be known, I was raised by a psychiatrist. My father, Leonard Zunin, author of two books, had an illustrious career. Some of my fondest memories of childhood were when I would accompany him on his speaking engagements around the country.

United Healthcare is facing challenges serving military

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest managed-care insurance company, was recently taken to task by the assistant secretary of defense for causing delays in medical treatment.

Electronic health records increasingly used in isles

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
After years of encouragement, investment and incentives, hospitals and more recently a critical mass of community physicians have made the transition from paper charts to electronic health records (EHR).

Regenerative medicine holds considerable promise

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Regenerative medicine is a rapidly emerging field that aims to replace or regenerate cells, tissues or organs to restore normal function.

IRS' role in health reform doesn't inspire confidence

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Beginning in October, Americans will be able to register with new state health insurance exchanges to purchase their health insurance.

Small health care businesses face trying times these days

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
In the days before insurance, doctors were far more connected to the community. During times of emergency, a neighbor would run to the doctor's house for help: "Come quick, Mom is in labor again!" or "Old man Sasaki fell off his tractor.

Gains in health technology cause pain in the short term

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
Need a kidney transplant? No problem. I'll just print one out. It is now possible to run living cells through a 3-D printer and engineer a transplantable kidney.

4 documents help express wishes toward end of life

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
We know in the back of our minds that life does not last forever, but for most of us it's difficult to look mortality in the face.

Convenient online booking robs activities of adventure

By Ira Zunin Posted 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2013
It used to be that when children wanted to play a game of kickball, they would walk around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and asking their friends if they wished to play. This simple act took initiative and leadership.

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