Newsletter published monthly by the University of California, Berkeley in conjunction with Health Letter Associates. The Wellness Letter is an excellent source of up-to-date information (in lay terms) regarding recent and ongoing studies in the health-related fields.

Going beyond simple "tips for healthy living," the Letter often translates "medical speak" into English and describes recent high and low-profile discoveries to its readers, explaining what, if anything, they mean to the average Joe. For example, the Letter was one of the first periodicals to emphasize the results of studies that showed small amounts of exercise could be as beneficial as longer, more drawn-out exercise sessions. Also, the Letter was quick to explain the dangers of some types of hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women.

IMHO, the newsletter also does a great job "paying for itself," especially when it comes to letting its readers know about studies involving prescription medications. For example, the Letter brought to light one study that revealed Merck's drug Propecia was as effective at doses of 0.25mg as it was at the usual recommended dose of 1mg. (This enabled folks who take the drug, which usually isn't covered by insurance, to cut their costs by 75%, simply by cutting the pills into fourths.)

The Wellness Letter also takes time each month to discuss and, when appropriate, debunk, common wellness myths. Pseudoscience is a common target for the Letter; panacea herbs and supplements are often the subjects of scrutiny for their (often wild) claims. Fad diets such as the Atkins Diet and the Stone Age Diet are similarly investigated.

The Berkeley Wellness Letter's website is at Current subscribers may access back issues through the same site.

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