Healthful Eating
U.S. News ranks DASH the best diet
Best Diets, U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report named the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet the “best overall” in its first-ever diet rankings, released last week. DASH, which is rich in fruits and vegetables and low in meat, sugar and sodium, was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute about a decade ago. A panel of 22 experts assembled by U.S. News chose the best overall diet based on short- and long-term weight loss (with double emphasis on the latter); it also had to be easy to follow, nutritious and safe. The experts tweaked their criteria to name winners in four other categories: Weight Watchers was named the best weight-loss diet and the best commercial diet plan, DASH took the best diabetes diet category, and the low-fat, vegetarian Ornish Diet came in first for heart health. The U.S. News rankings come on the heels of Consumer Reports’ recent ratings in which the Jenny Craig program came out on top.

hospital care
New intern hours raise new concerns
Proto magazine, spring issue

Medical residency is a rite of passage for fledgling doctors, notorious for hard work and extreme hours. But new rules are going into effect in July in an attempt to safeguard patients and medical residents. The number of consecutive hours that interns (first-year residents) will be able to work without sleep will drop from 30 hours to 16. According to an article in Massachusetts General Hospital’s magazine Proto, medical educators are worried that residents won’t learn enough in the reduced shifts and that medical errors might even increase if patients are handed off more frequently from one resident to the next. Some are calling for more studies. (They are doctors, after all.) “We’re making a very big, expensive change in residency programs, and the problem is we don’t have enough high-quality data . . . to know how to do this and improve outcomes,” says one physician quoted in the magazine.

Rachel Saslow