Health News Review
  • Jan 20 2015

    “Potential biomarker that could predict”? – caveats about psychiatric brain imaging & blogging about it

    The following is a guest blog post by Susan Molchan, MD.  Dr. Molchan is a psychiatrist in practice in Bethesda, Maryland. She also trained in nuclear medicine and did PET research at the National Institute of Mental Health, and worked as the program director for Biomarkers, Diagnosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease at the National Institute on Aging. ——————————————R…

  • Dec 6 2012

    Incomplete MPR reporting on Mayo prostate cancer scan

    …ng the stories that matter most in many peoples’ lives.  Data, please? The story quoted a Mayo physician:  “As prostate cancer cells multiply, they absorb a lot of choline. Lowe said that makes the compound a good biomarker for detecting tumors. “If a cancer is growing and producing more cells, then the hypothesis is that it’s going to need more choline than other tissues around it,” he said. Are biomarkers foolproof…

  • Apr 17 2013

    How “groundbreaking” are skin cholesterol tests?

    …gainst that critical first event. The skin contains 11 per cent of the body’s cholesterol, by weight. The ability to now conveniently measure a person’s skin cholesterol level with the PreVu POC Test introduces a valuable new biomarker for risk of CAD.  When followed by the formal evaluation of traditional risk factors (for patients deemed to be at increased risk due to their skin cholesterol levels) such as a family history of cardiovascular dis…

  • Jun 5 2014

    Words of caution about “simple tests could save lives and money” story

    … activator (tPA), Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), Total cholesterol content in red blood cell membranes, VAP cholesterol test, Visfatin and von Willebrand factor antigen level. This list demonstrates that we do not lack biomarkers of interest.  We do however not know how best to use them, alone or in combination. The recent poster presentation from the International Society For Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research meeting in Montreal sup…

  • Mar 11 2014

    “Simple” blood test to predict if you’ll be alive in 5 years? Please….

    …e for a screening test.” CNN wasn’t alone in hyping that study, but so far at least, they lead the journalism world on this next one. Today reports on an observational study that made an association between four biomarkers and risk of death and reported: Will you be alive five years from now? New research suggests it might be possible to predict if you’ll die from a medical condition in the next half-decade. How, you ask? With a sim…

  • Jun 10 2014

    Slow down on making claims for semen test for prostate cancer

    … elevated PSA level do not have cancer.  Up to 40% of cancers detected by PSA are considered overdiagnosed–they would never cause any problems during a man’s lifetime.  Investigators are fervently seeking a better biomarker for prostate cancer–one that would not have so many false positives and one that could predict which cancers are potentially dangerous and need to be treated.  Now investigators from the University of Adelaid…

  • Aug 18 2011

    NBC urges women >40 to ask about CRP test – something not supported by evidence

    …n is by looking at who holds the patent on the CRP test and who benefits from its use. Goozner wrote several years ago: “What if I told you Dr. Paul Ridker of Harvard owns the patent to using C-reactive protein as a biomarker of heart disease and it’s licensed to companies making the test. And what if I told you his research has been funded by drug companies that make statins, which lower cholesterol and may be used to combat high…

  • Mar 10 2014

    On Alzheimer’s study, standout stories evaluated both evidence & ethics

    …e that “the accuracy fell short of what would normally be acceptable for a screening test.”  He went on to explain: “We consider our results a major step toward the commercialization of a preclinical disease biomarker test that could be useful for large-scale screening to identify at-risk individuals,” Federoff said in a Georgetown press release. But the data did not appear to fully support that optimism. If the study coho…

  • Dec 19 2011

    Cleveland Clinic’s Top 5 Tests for 2012 clash with many guidelines

    …e should have during their yearly physical. For men, the following tests are recommended by many physicians:” Included in the list were: “High-sensitive C-reactive protein – High levels of this inflammatory biomarker are predictive for future heart problems.” -  But the US Preventive Services Task Force, by comparison, states that “the evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of using hig…

  • May 3 2012

    The limitations of – and explosion in the number of – observational studies

    …ic health and nutrition are based on observational studies, as are those about the environment, climate change and psychology.” The article addresses the “hot area of medical research” – the search for biomarkers. “The presence or absence of the biomarkers in a patient’s blood, some theorized, could indicate a higher or lower risk for heart disease—the biggest killer in the Western world. Yet these biomarkers &…

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