Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

Subscribe to the Healthy Life Virginia newsletter:

RSS feed of this blog

Best of 2010

Before we get too deep into the New Year, let’s recall some of the huge happenings in the health world last year — and some of the great stuff writers shared with us in Healthy Living. A few of last year’s stories that continue to resonate:

  • Health care reform — It’s still hotly debated, and still keeping the focus on the great need in this country for a better system of ensuring that people who need medical care can affordably get it.
  • Concussions — The medical and athletic community put a big spotlight on concussions last year, shifting the injuries from the “no big deal” category to their rightful place in the “brain injury/take this seriously” category. This shift should mean much better brain health for all those athletes who put their heads at risk when they compete.
  • Alcoholic energy drinks — These came under big scrutiny last year after some much-publicized incidents where young people passed out/suffered medical problems because of drinking them.  The drinks are deceptive: they’re sweet, with tons more alcohol packed into them than a can of beer. And the caffeine keeps people from getting sleepy and stopping drinking.
  • Cigarette labels — The FDA announced it will soon make cigarette makers put labels on their products with strong language clearly spelling out how nasty and dangerous smoking is. No longer will a skinny little warning label suffice.
  • CPR — The news in 2010 was that if someone around you suffers from cardiac arrest, you should do continuous chest compressions , but not worry about mouth-to-mouth resusciation. Hands-only CPR is the way to go.
  • Whooping cough — Cases of this condition, also known as pertussis, rose in the region and in many parts of the country in 2010. Dr. Christopher Lillis, a Healthy Living columnist, wrote about the need to vaccinate children and to give adults booster shots.

On a very local level, 2010 was the year Healthy Living added Dr. Maha Alattar as a regular columnist. Alattar is a neurologist and sleep specialist who directs Mary Washington Hospital’s stroke program, and who has a strong interest in mind-body connections and how stress affects the brain. Her next column, this Sunday, will focus on motivation — as in, how can we find the motivation we need to achieve our goals?

Also in 2010 we:

  • Created FredMD, a website devoted to providing readers with the latest, most relevant, local health news and resources. (
  • Continued to share the insights of our very knowledgable team of columnists: Dr. Delise Dickard (Mindset), Dr. Christopher Lillis (On Call), dietitian Jennifer Motl (Bright Eating) and Dr. Patrick Neustatter (2nd Opinion).
  • Provided a year’s worth of insights into vascular/heart health courtesy of a team of writers affiliated with the Virginia Heart and Vascular Institute.

As always, I’m interested in story suggestions from readers, so if you have a health concern to share, please contact me at