Health News Review
  • Dec 20 2012

    Oregon: Just saying “No” to expensive proton beam therapy (for now, at least)

    The Oregonian reports something you don’t hear very often these days – a medical center saying “NO” – at least for now – to the medical arms race. And by dropping their plans to acquire a proton beam therapy facility, they said “NO” in a big way.   The Oregonian reports: In recent years, large medical [...]

  • Dec 13 2012

    Other views on the NYT op-ed, “The 2,000 Year-Old Wonder Drug”

    Dr. David Agus, tireless promoter of his book, “The End of Illness,” and whose involvement in an ABC news story about a reporter’s coronary calcium CT scan led to the network correcting/retracting the piece, is now at it again. The New York Times published his op-ed piece, “The 2,000-Year-Old Wonder Drug,” the start of which [...]

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  • Dec 7 2012

    My talk to Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT’s Medical Evidence Bootcamp for Journalists

    For what I believe was the fourth time in the past five years, Phil Hilts of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT asked me to speak to their Medical Evidence Boot Camp.  It happened this week in Cambridge. I was honored and delighted to be on the same program with Drs. Steven Woloshin and [...]

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  • Dec 6 2012

    Incomplete MPR reporting on Mayo prostate cancer scan

    I’m a big fan of Minnesota Public Radio and usually a big fan of their health care news coverage. They’ve done some bold and innovative coverage in recent years. But when I heard (on the radio) and saw (online) MPR’s story, “Prostate cancer scan advance helps Mayo doctors with early detection,” I saw some red [...]

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  • Dec 3 2012

    Critic calls American Psychiatric Assoc. approval of DSM-V “a sad day for psychiatry”

    Dr. Allen Frances writes that the American Psychiatric Association approval of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual this past weekend marks “a sad day for psychiatry.“  Frances, psychiatry professor emeritus at Duke, chaired the DSM-4 task force. He lists the top ten changes that he says should be ignored: “I would suggest [...]

  • 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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  • Nov 21 2012

    General health checkups find lots of new problems but don’t cut morbidity/mortality

    That’s the conclusion of a paper published in the BMJ, “General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis.” The authors reported: We identified 16 trials, 14 of which had available outcome data (182 880 participants). Nine trials provided data on total mortality (11 940 deaths), and they gave [...]

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  • Nov 13 2012

    Not so fast on fasting for cholesterol tests

    Lots of news coverage of an interesting study and accompanying commentary in this week’s “online first” edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine – suggesting that fasting may not be necessary before cholesterol tests.  From the banks of the Charles, Harold DeMonaco, MS, one of our expert story reviewers on, weighs in with his [...]

  • Nov 6 2012

    An unusual TV news sweeps period piece: profile of an evidence-based doc

    “You’ve probably never heard of Dr. Tim Wilt. He doesn’t have a TV show.  No advice column in the newspaper.” That’s how my friend (and former graduate student) Jeff Baillon of KMSP-TV began his 5 1/2 minute TV news sweeps period piece last night about Dr. Tim Wilt of the Minneapolis VA – a member [...]

  • Nov 5 2012

    Proton Beam Therapy: evaluating claims in ASTRO papers of “excellent” quality of life data

    Last week, the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s annual conference was held in Boston, and several papers were presented on proton beam therapy, and several medical centers sent out news releases about their involvement in the work.  MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston  and Loma Linda University Medical Center in California were two that we [...]