Health News Review
  • Nov 24 2013

    Statins and cardiovascular conflicts of interest

    I’d like to see a public survey of comprehension of the recent splash of news about new guidelines for heart disease prevention and statin drug use.  Heads must be spinning. Here are some of the pieces that I found noteworthy: In the BMJ, Jeanne Lenzer writes, “Majority of panelists on controversial new cholesterol guidelines have [...]

  • Oct 8 2013

    Ethics problem: physician-journalists interview colleagues without disclosing conflict

    A physician wrote to me saying that the following story was “egregious because it is factually on another planet.” The story in question was  PBS Newshour “special correspondent” Dr. Emily Senay interviewing Dr. Claudia Henschke of Mount Sinai Hospital about lung cancer screening. In the interview, CT scan advocate Henschke played fast and loose with [...]

  • Sep 18 2013

    Patient protection from conflicted medical guidelines

    A piece in the BMJ, “Ensuring the integrity of clinical practice guidelines: a tool for protecting patients,” lists: Red flags that should raise substantial skepticism among guideline readers (and medical journals) Sponsor(s) is a professional society that receives substantial industry funding; Sponsor is a proprietary company, or is undeclared or hidden Committee chair(s) have any [...]

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  • Jul 30 2013

    If you have low back pain, chances are increasing that you won’t be treated based on best evidence

    That’s the strong suggestion of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, “Worsening Trends in the Management and Treatment of Back Pain.” It concludes: “Despite numerous published national guidelines, management of routine back pain increasingly has relied on advanced diagnostic imaging, referrals to other physicians, and use of narcotics, with a concomitant decrease in (nonsteroidal [...]

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  • Jul 12 2013

    “Our medical schools must not become shills for big pharma”

    A commentary in the Globe and Mail today, “Our medical schools must not become shills for big pharma,” begins: “Most Canadians might be surprised to learn that medical students in Canada are routinely taught by faculty who have financial ties, and work in partnership, with drug companies. Conflict of interest (COI) policies at medical schools [...]

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  • Feb 5 2013

    Should We Trust the NEJM Obesity Mythbusters?

    The following is a guest post by Kevin Lomangino, one of our story reviewers on He is an independent medical journalist and editor who is currently Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Nutrition Insight, a monthly evidence-based newsletter which reviews the scientific literature on nutrition for physicians and dietitians. He tweets as @Klomangino. —————————————————- Last week, the [...]

  • Jan 31 2013

    The list of potential conflicts of interest in authors of the NEJM obesity myths paper

    A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity,” drew lots of news attention. The authors reported: We identified seven obesity-related myths concerning the effects of small sustained increases in energy intake or expenditure, establishment of realistic goals for weight loss, rapid weight loss, weight-loss readiness, physical-education classes, breast-feeding, [...]

  • Jan 14 2013

    Colonoscopy, conflicts of interest, and cautionary tales

    Dr. Michael Kirsch, who claims that “when I’m not writing, I’m performing colonoscopies, has published a blog post, “Is Colonoscopy the Best Colon Cancer Screening Test?” It’s an excellent piece, which I encourage you to read in its entirety.  It touches on medical conflicts of interest, comparative effectiveness research, the medical arms race, medical marketing [...]

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  • Jan 3 2013

    Catching up on Conflict of Interest news. Please make it stop.

    A little end-of-the-year clean up of desk clutter never hurts.  Well, yes it does when you see the accumulation of health care confilct of interest stories that have piled up recently.  I had started this cleanup at the end of 2012 but am just now getting around to publishing it. Doctors with links to drug [...]

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  • Nov 30 2012

    Reconciling primary care and specialist perspectives on prostate screening

    I recommend that you read a thoughtful “Reflection” piece in the Annals of Family Medicine, “Reconciling Primary Care and Specialist Perspectives on Prostate Cancer Screening.” The authors quote Kipling: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” And unfortunately that appears to be the case with many discussions about [...]

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