Health News Review
  • 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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  • May 9 2013

    More questions about expanded uses of robotic surgery: gallbladder and bladder cancer operations

    Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, as Paul Levy writes on his Not Running A Hospital blog, is a surgery to remove a gall bladder using laparoscopic instruments through holes in the abdomen instead of cutting it open.  Lap choles, for short. “So, what do you do if you are a robotic surgery device company that has saturated the [...]

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  • May 7 2013

    Calling for cocktail of open-mindedness and skepticism in UK news about antibiotics for back pain

    Newspapers in the UK went nuts today with stories about “Nobel-worthy” research and “breakthrough” and “cure.” Interestingly, the story is slow to crack US news organizations yet. The Guardian:  Back pain breakthrough could eliminate need for major operations The Daily Mail: Antibiotics costing just £114 may cure chronic back pain in 40% of patients in [...]

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  • Apr 25 2013

    Two noteworthy breast cancer stories: “The Feel-Good War” and guidelines didn’t change practice

    The New York Times Sunday magazine piece, “Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer,” is by Peggy Orenstein who begins: “I used to believe that a mammogram saved my life. I even wrote that in the pages of this magazine. It was 1996, and I had just turned 35 when my doctor sent me for an [...]

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  • Mar 7 2013

    American College of Cardiology news release plugs, expresses “serious concerns” about study to be discussed at upcoming meeting

    The American College of Cardiology holds its annual scientific sessions in San Francisco from March 9 – 13 this year.  It is quite common for organizations like the ACC to send out news releases in advance of a meeting about papers that will be presented at the meeting. But it is uncommon for an organization [...]

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  • Mar 5 2013

    Two new books by physicians to put on your reading list

    “Between the Lines:  Finding the Truth in Medical Literature,” by Marya Zilberberg, MD, MPH….and “The Patient Paradox: Why sexed-up medicine is bad for your health,” by Margaret McCartney, MD, are two books to add your reading list. I’ve written several times about smart blog posts by Zilberberg, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at U-Mass Amherst.  [...]

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  • Feb 4 2013

    Sound Medicine radio program profiles work of

    This public radio program in Indiana interviewed me in response to the paper by John Ioannidis and colleagues in JAMA, “Empirical Evaluation of Very Large Treatment Effects of Medical Interventions.” You can listen to the 12-minute segment online. A few of the points I tried to make: Oftentimes, if it sounds too good to be [...]

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  • Jan 11 2013

    Yale’s Harlan Krumholz: 5 Things You Should Know On The Myth Of Tamiflu

    Have you ever tried having a discussion of the evidence for Tamiflu with your doctor? (A physician-reader of our work has reminded me to use generic names whenever possible.  The generic name for Tamiflu is oseltamivir.) Is this one of the top medical marketing success stories after, say, Lamisil (terbinafine) for toenail fungus? On, [...]

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  • Jan 4 2013

    How ugly Twitter can get on health/screening issues

    It started when somebody wrote a book review of the book by Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick In America.”  In it, the reviewer wrote: “Brawley isn’t an asshole, but he is a loudmouth, in the best possible sense. [...]

  • Jan 2 2013

    Be Careful in Reporting On Composite Outcomes

    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.  This post will also [...]

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