social determinants of health


Income and Life Expectancy

Today’s New York Times has an excellent article on income and longevity that compares Fairfax County, Virginia, to McDowell County, West Virginia. In Fairfax, median household income is $107,000. In McDowell it’s about one-fifth of that. In Fairfax, the average life expectancy for men is 82. For women it’s 85. In McDowell, the comparable life […]

Dogs and the Elderly

As an only child growing up in New York City, I hounded my parents for a dog.  They held fast. Then, in the eighth grade, playing stickball with friends after school, I came upon a mutt tied to a barbershop pole. The barber told me the dog had been wandering around on its own. Did […]

Making a Human Community

My wife Sidney and I spend our summers on a small island off the coast of Maine, Little Cranberry, well down east. The island has many charms, but I am most impressed by the wonderful integration of all age groups in the life of the island, from babies and young children to those in their […]

Retirement and Dementia

On Monday, July 15, at 4:00 PM at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston, Carole Dufouil, director of research in neuroepidemiology at the Institut National de la santé et de la recherché médicale at the Bordeaux School of Public Health in France, presented her research on the relationship between retirement and dementia. In less […]

Job Loss and Mortality

In my clinical practice some years back I saw “Mr. A,” a man in his early 50’s who had become profoundly depressed after losing his job. We had a good relationship and he was very cooperative in his treatment, which involved medications, different forms of psychotherapy, and environmental manipulations. Despite all our efforts, nothing worked. […]