Health Buzz: Study Says You Can Catch Loneliness and Other Health News

CEO of Cleveland Clinic discusses leadership and mistakes; how to get the very best cancer care.

Video: Health Insurance Basics

Video: Health Insurance Basics

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Study Says Loneliness Is Contagious

A new study suggests that feelings of loneliness could spread like a virus, the Washington Post reports. U.S. researchers examined data from more than 4,000 people and found that lonely people infect members of their social network with their mood. First their friends grow lonesome; then the feeling gets passed on to others. And those without direct contact to the initial lonely person are not immune, psychologist and lead author John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago tells the Post. Results are published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

[Read Why Loneliness Is Bad for Your Health and How to Get Yourself "Infected" With Happiness.]

Cleveland Clinic's Cosgrove: Congress Needs to Improve Quality of Healthcare

Toby Cosgrove, CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, reached out to mentors at the Harvard Business School and elsewhere to learn leadership skills. But he says his real leadership training has come through making mistakes—and when you're an innovative heart surgeon, those mistakes could be life-threatening for patients.

U.S. News talked with Cosgrove about how those hard lessons shaped the skills he now uses to lead a $4.6 billion healthcare system with 29,000 employees, as well as to invent lifesaving medical devices, contributor Nancy Shute writes. Among other interview questions Cosgrove addressed: What responsibility do hospital administrators have in reforming healthcare?

Hospitals have to understand that they need to come together in systems so they can deliver the level of care that patients need, Cosgrove said. It's great to have children delivered at community hospitals, but you can't expect a 150- or 200-bed hospital to do great neurosurgery or cardiac surgery or trauma care. Read more.

[Read Health Reform: What's in It for You? and Uwe Reinhardt: Plain Talk on Health Reform.]

How to Get the Very Best Cancer Care

As an interior designer, Pam Newton knows the importance of preparation and attention to detail. So even before a biopsy last year confirmed that she had early-stage breast cancer, she was researching cancer treatment options and interviewing oncologists and surgeons in the greater Washington area, where she lives, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson writes.

Then Newton, 63, learned about a newer method of radiation, involving a shorter course of treatment and special protective measures to shield vulnerable organs from the damaging effects. Trouble was, many of the local doctors she consulted about it after her cancer surgery were hesitant to move away from the standard of care. "But I learned that major cancer centers were doing these different approaches," Newton says—and she promptly joined a clinical trial of the therapy at New York University's Langone Medical Center. After less than a month in New York, she was back under the care of her own oncologist.

Newton discovered what every cancer patient should know: that the country's major cancer centers are a rich resource even for people who can't or don't want to receive all of their care there, Hobson writes. There are a number of ways to take advantage of the expertise concentrated at the big centers, says Mark Fesen, an oncologist in Hutchinson, Kan., and author of Surviving the Cancer System, published earlier this year. One of the simplest: get a quick "curbside" consultation. Read more.

[Search: U.S. News's list of America's Best Cancer Hospitals.] [Read Should You Join a Research Study? 9 Tips for Volunteers in Clinical Trials and When to Visit a High-Risk Breast Cancer Center.]

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