Earth Day and Medical Progress

Dr. Edward Pullen examines the ways in which Earth Day and going green can relate to medicine.

I tried to come up with a post today to relate to Earth Day. I’m a conservationist, and was hoping to somehow relate Earth Day to something relevant in medicine. My first find was an article discussing a letter in Lancet, a prominent British medical journal, arguing that obesity is a factor in global warming. I thought of trying to write a humorous article somehow relating the NFL Draft today to the global warming issues of increased calorie consumption, but decided to leave that to Saturday Night Live. I think the authors of the Lancet article were serious, but if not they are certainly buzz masters. This has been a very popular reference with several Google pages of “hits” if you search for “obesity and global warming.” The LA Times article is a fun read. Check out the NY Times article: For a World of Woes, We Blame Cookie Monsters

On a more serious note I found an article showing that E-visits for acne to dermatologists lead to similar outcomes as in-person visits. This could reduce the carbon footprint of some types of healthcare provided, essentially telecommuting to the doctor’s office. The devil is in the details, as at this time most physicians don’t have the technology in place to do these visits, the HIPAA issues are of concern, and we can’t get paid for E-visits, but it gives hope that this may be down the road for some types of care.

Maybe your focus today should include planting a tree native to your local area and eating an organic vegan diet for the day.

Ed Pullen, MD, is a board certified family physician practicing in Puyallup, WA. He blogs at — A Medical Bog for the Informed Patient.

This article originally appeared online at

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