Health News Review
  • Feb 4 2014

    My weekly fix from Richard Lehman’s journal review blog

    Jut a few gems from the February 3 edition: “Oh great. Another phase 2 study of a pricey monoclonal antibody to address the “epidemic of osteoporosis,” i.e. a pharma-driven epidemic of overdiagnosis in older women. With a nice surrogate end point: bone mineral density, which bears an oblique relationship to fracture risk. And, in a [...]

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  • Jan 21 2014

    Journalists have “systematic bias” to cover weaker studies

    A paper in PLoS One, “Media Coverage of Medical Journals: Do the Best Articles Make the News?” answers a resounding “No.” Excerpt: Media outlets must make choices when deciding which studies deserve public attention. We sought to examine if there exists a systematic bias favoring certain study design in the choice of articles covered in [...]

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  • Jan 2 2014

    Too many unaddressed questions in too many stories about vitamin E for Alzheimer’s

    On December 31 there may not have been much news.  Journalists may have grown tired of “Best of 2013″ or “Top 10 whatever” stories.  So a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association that reports that “patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease had slower functional decline” after taking big doses of Vitamin [...]

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  • Dec 13 2013

    First the hype, now the science – platelet-rich plasma therapy in orthopedics

    A paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons on platelet-rich plasma in orthopedic uses raises questions about the proliferation of that approach:  “for many conditions, there is limited reliable clinical evidence to guide the use of PRP. Furthermore, classification systems and identification of differences among products are needed to understand the [...]

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  • Dec 12 2013

    The unvarying story of health care variations – Dartmouth Atlas on children’s care

    Jack Wennberg made his mark by documenting health care variations in the way certain services were utilized – even in adjacent communities in New England. One of the early signs that caught his attention was when his own kids were of the tonsillectomy age. He found, as Reuters recalls, “that rates of tonsillectomy are 60 [...]

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  • Dec 10 2013

    Last week “clinical trial system broken”; this week “luxury journals distort/damage science”

    In the BMJ recently: “The clinical trial system is broken and it’s getting worse, according to longstanding Food and Drug Administration investigator, Thomas Marciniak. … “Drug companies have turned into marketing machines. They’ve kind of lost sight of the fact that they’re actually doing something which involves your health,” Marciniak says. “You’ve got to take [...]

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  • Oct 17 2013

    Canadian journalist: every cancer cure claim needs scrutiny

    Carly Weeks of The Globe and Mail, based in Toronto, writes, “Why every claim of an exciting new cancer cure needs close examination.” She begins: “The Internet loves a good conspiracy. Have you heard the one about scientists finding a cure for cancer, but it being blocked from the public because Big Pharma can’t make [...]

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  • Oct 17 2013

    Omega-3 fatty acids & prostate cancer: study and stories off-base

    The following is a guest blog post co-authored by Richard Hoffman, MD, MPH and by Robert Glew, PhD, both of the University of New Mexico.  Hoffman has been a story reviewer and blog contributor on this site.  Glew is an emeritus professor (and former chair) of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University of New Mexico. [...]

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  • 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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  • Sep 4 2013

    Basics for Evaluating Medical Research Studies

    A new book, “Basics for Evaluating Medical Research Studies: A Simplified Approach,” according to its authors, “represents a summation of our decades of work in this field.” The authors are Sheri Ann Strite and Michael E. Stuart, MD – two people I’ve had occasional communication with over the past year or so.  You can read [...]

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