Health News Review
  • Feb 23 2014

    Star Tribune: Many dermatologists prefer lucrative cosmetic work to treating cancers

    Interesting story in the Star Tribune, on “Dermatology’s Tug of War.” Its primary theme – claims about a shortage of dermatologists – has been making headlines for a long time.  Some doubt whether there’s a real shortage.  (See dermatologist Orin Goldblum’s comments in this story, for example.) But the secondary theme is what intrigues me:  [...]

    2 Comments
  • Feb 6 2014

    Journalism via news release as Pfizer gets free publicity without releasing any data

    This week, Pfizer announced news from a trial of a drug for advanced breast cancer. The Pfizer news release stated “that the randomized Phase 2 trial [PALOMA-1] of palbociclib achieved its primary endpoint by demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for the combination of palbociclib and letrozole compared with [...]

    5 Comments
  • Oct 4 2013

    The crime of overstating a drug’s benefits in a news release

    David Brown wrote an interesting piece in the Washington Post two weeks ago, “The press-release conviction of a biotech CEO and its impact on scientific research.” Excerpt: “The press release described a clinical trial of interferon gamma-1b (sold as Actimmune) in 330 patients with a rapidly fatal lung disease. What’s unusual is that everyone agrees [...]

    2 Comments
  • Oct 4 2013

    Best practices for pink ribbon promotions

    Please note:  I know this is old news but I didn’t catch this a year ago.  It’s October again, so I think it’s legitimate to raise the issue again. I wonder if it’s made any difference.  Comments are welcome. October breast cancer awareness “pink ribbon” promotions have become so commonplace – and often so questionable [...]

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  • Oct 4 2013

    Take the visual quiz: Is it a hotel or a hospital?

    Catching up on this gem from two weeks ago:  the New York Times analysis, “Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?” Excerpt: “American hospitals are looking less and less like their more utilitarian counterparts in Europe, where the average hospital charges per day are often less than a quarter of those in the United States, [...]

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  • Sep 11 2013

    Flintstones and “badvertising”

    Obesity medicine doc blogger Yoni Freedhoff writes, “Badvertising: Do Children Need Multivitamins and Will Flintstones “Support Immunity”? He focuses his criticism on this Flintstones multivitamin ad campaign. He writes: “I was unable to find a single study, not one, that would suggest a need or a benefit to giving a growing healthy child a multivitamin. [...]

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  • Aug 22 2013

    “A reality check on the banal puffery” of hospital website marketing

    On the HealthLeaders Media website, Cheryl Clark writes, “It’s Judgment Day for Hospital Websites.”  She calls it “a reality check on all of this banal puffery.”  Excerpts: “This week, the employer-based Leapfrog Group, which last year started doling out hospital safety scores from A-F, and the accreditation program URAC announced their joint 2013 Hospital Website [...]

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  • Jun 1 2013

    “Here they go again” – 3 new proton beam facilities w/in 40 miles in DC-Baltimore

    “When it comes to reining in health care spending, it still seems like each hospital administrator thinks the guy at the other hospital should do it.”  That was the lead, as Jenny Gold of Kaiser Health News reports that two Washington,DC hospitals – three miles apart – are building expensive proton beam radiation centers for [...]

    4 Comments
  • May 22 2013

    Doc complains, gets “misleading” bus ads promoting screening banned

    On a BMJ blog, Dr. Margaret McCartney writes about her irritation after seeing ads on the side of buses in Glasgow (where she lives) promoting screening tests but not divulging that this was to recruit people into clinical trials.  She and her daughter took photos of the ads, and she shared those with me:   [...]

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  • May 10 2013

    BMJ blogger: new cars for orthopedic surgeons and petomania still not an Olympic sport

    BMJ blogger Richard Lehman’s weekly review of medical journals is worth a weekly visit. This week he comments on a New England Journal of Medicine article, “Surgery versus Physical Therapy for a Meniscal Tear and Osteoarthritis.” He writes: “To my mind, the words “meniscal tear” conjure up Monday morning at the surgery, with young men [...]

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