Why care about social change when it feels like nothing is changing

Maybe you feel frustrated with the state of pick-your-social-issue-that-needs-transformation.  Maybe you’ve even thought, why bother, nothing’s really changing. But compassion and action really do matter, not only to individual health but to society’s health. I found myself thinking about this after a recent trip to San Francisco. I was struck …

Living green: How plastic pollution became your problem

By now, you’ve probably heard about the 5 swirling stews of plastic (a.k.a. gyres) living in our ocean waters. Maybe you’re even aware of some of these startling stats: 51 trillion microplastic particles are in the ocean today—500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy (source). We …

The mind-body disconnect: When it happened and why it’s the root cause of suffering

How do you define health? Most people would likely say in some form or another, it’s the absence of disease. That makes sense. That’s how our healthcare system defines it. The thing is health is much broader than this. It encompasses physical and emotional states that are influenced by biology …

How artificial intelligence could revolutionize health (or destroy it)

Last year, I started to panic about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to, well, destroy life on earth. Elon Musk had to be right. AI is “the biggest risk that we face as a civilization.” Well that, and climate change. Couple that with concerned comments from Stephen Hawking and …

Seven questions to ask yourself for a healthier mind-body and society in 2018

The parts of New Year’s Eve that I enjoy are the openness to change in the air and the opportunity to ask self-reflective questions. What were the highlights of your last year? What about the lowlights? What did you learn? Sometimes these questions are met with a groan. But from …

Can a plant-based diet save the planet?

In 2006, a United Nations report warned that rearing cattle generated more greenhouse gases than driving cars. So, is your rib-eye steak more destructive to the planet than your Honda Accord? Animal agriculture and meat consumption are big contributors to global warming. But is a plant-based diet the answer? The …

How can we get this right? Chronic pain and America’s opioid addiction crisis, Part 2

This past week, University of California Irvine received a historic $200 million gift from Susan and Henry Samueli to create a new College of Health Sciences. Headlines like “A $200 million donation threatens to tar UC Irvine’s medical school as a haven for quacks” and “Quackademic medicine at UC Irvine” …