Health News Review
  • Jan 9 2014

    Newspaper cheerleading for local medical device company on page 1

    I’ve documented a track record in my local Star Tribune newspaper of cheerleading for local medical device companies.  This undoubtedly happens across the US in other local papers but I live in Minnesota and we have a lot of medical device companies here and this is what I see most often. And today the paper [...]

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  • Jan 6 2014

    Survey finds few orthopedic surgeons know the costs of the devices they implant

    Any time an orthopedic surgeon goes into an operating room, there may be tens of thousands of dollars of devices under consideration for his/her use. Wouldn’t it be nice if that surgeon knew how much the stuff cost? A paper in Health Affairs, written by orthopedic surgeons, reports on a survey of 503 orthopedic attending [...]

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  • Nov 4 2013

    The Economics & Politics of Drugs for Mild Hypertension

    Dr. David Cundiff was co-author of the Cochrane systematic review, “Pharmacotherapy for Mild Hypertension.”  The following is an unsolicited guest blog post by Dr. Cundiff. —————————- The Cochrane Collaboration’s Hypertension Group published a systematic review of drug treatment for mild hypertension in August 2012 showing no evidence that drugs benefit patients while about 11% have [...]

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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 6 2013

    Insurers doing what feds haven’t in refusing to pay for proton beam therapy

    The Los Angeles Times reports, “Blue Shield of California to curb coverage of pricey cancer therapy.” “As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. Blue Shield of California is taking on [...]

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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 10 2013

    Some skeptical views of NYT front page “race for cholesterol drug” story

    A front-page story in the New York Times today, “Rare Mutation Ignites Race for Cholesterol Drug,” is worthy of further exploration. Any time the NYT puts a health/medical/science story on the front page, it probably warrants further exploration.   But I don’t think NYT front-page placement automatically warrants further front-page pickup by media across the [...]

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  • Jun 2 2013

    Colonoscopy: case study in 1st of NYT series on how economic incentives raise health care costs

    Noteworthy from the New York Times:  “The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill: Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures.” Key excerpt: “While several cheaper and less invasive tests to screen for colon cancer are recommended as equally effective by the federal government’s expert panel on preventive care — and are commonly used in [...]

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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 [...]

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  • May 28 2013

    5 shared decision-making articles in JAMA Internal Medicine receive little attention

    “Patient communication has room to grow,” reported Reuters Health.  And so does journalism about shared decision-making or patient-centered care – subject of four papers and an editorial in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine. How Patient Centered Are Medical Decisions? Results of a National Survey “Respondents reported much more discussion of the pros than the cons [...]

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