Health News Review
  • Apr 11 2012

    Including a medical arms race angle in a local health care story – “hot potato” indeed

    Maura Lerner of the Star Tribune newspaper is a veteran health care journalist. She reports on a man leaving “the Mayo Clinic with a man-made heart and a power pack, ushering in a new era in Minnesota medicine.” The story starts with the “firsts” -  “the first patient in Minnesota — and one of 1,000 [...]

    No Comments 1 Star
  • Mar 23 2012

    Sobering reminder: just because it is intuitively obvious doesn’t mean it’s true

    The following is a guest post written by Harold DeMonaco, one of our expert editors on, and Director of the Innovation Support Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital. ———————————————————————————————————————— The March 15 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine includes the results of a nine year study for stroke prevention that received very [...]

    1 Comment 1 Star
  • Mar 8 2012

    New survey shows FDA employees’ medical device approval concerns

    The NPR “Shots” blog and the Star Tribune were the only mainstream news organizations I saw that reported on a new survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists (opens as pdf file). Under the headline, “FDA Survey uncovers concerns over influence,” the Strib reported: Some workers in the medical device approval section of the Food [...]

    No Comments 1 Star
  • Mar 7 2012

    Important shared decision-making questions on knee replacement surgery

    MedPage Today (and a few others) report on an important article in The Lancet on knee replacement and how “Because replacement is increasingly considered for patients younger than 55 years, improved decision making about whether a patient should undergo the procedure is needed.” MedPage Today reports that long-term data on knee replacement is inadequate in [...]

    1 Comment 1 Star
  • Jan 16 2012

    Salt Lake Tribune shows how to scrutinize new technology claims by local hospital

    Kudos to reporter Kirsten Stewart of the Salt Lake Tribune for showing how to avoid local boosterism – so often seen when the local health care industry makes an announcement or holds a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  In her story, “Utah doctors tout high-tech cancer treatment,” she helps readers think critically. You should read the full story, [...]

    2 Comments 1 Star
  • Nov 8 2011

    “$430 Million Proton Beam Center War” – latest chapter playing out in San Diego

    I have written many times on this blog about one shining example of the medical arms race – the slow (some would say not so slow), steady, proliferation of huge and hugely expensive proton beam radiation facilities in medical centers in the US. I have written about how the proliferation never seems to occur in [...]

    1 Comment
  • Oct 24 2011

    Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel keeps adding to its “Side Effects” series

    Reporter John Fauber has published the latest in his “Side Effects” watchdog series, headlined “Doctors didn’t disclose spine product cancer risk in journal: Spine-product paper omitted key data.” Excerpts: “Doctors paid millions of dollars by Medtronic failed to identify a significant cancer risk with the company’s spine surgery product in a 2009 paper about results [...]

    No Comments
  • Jul 30 2011

    Surgeon blogs that robotic surgery is all hype and no substance

    The surgeon who blogs as Skeptical Scalpel writes that he (she?) is unable to contain him(her)self any longer and then lunges into a review of evidence (or lack thereof) for robotic surgery. You may disagree with Skeptical Scalpel’s decision to be anonymous, but he/she explains: “I’ve been a surgeon for almost 40 years and a [...]

  • Jul 22 2011

    Cyberknife for prostate cancer “still developing and can’t stand on its feet”

    We need more stories that raise questions about new technologies. Cardiac electrophysiologist Wes Fisher tweeted this week about a Chicago Sun Times story that he said was a promo piece for ablation for atrial fibrillation but failed to discuss the risks of the procedure. We’ve blogged twice this week about more questions about the explosion [...]

  • Jul 19 2011

    Wisconsin hospitals with robots double prostate removals within 3 months

    Reuters Health reports: “After Wisconsin hospitals acquired robotic surgery technology, the number of prostate removals they performed doubled within three months, a new study shows. By contrast, the number of prostate surgeries stayed the same at hospitals that didn’t purchase the new $2-million technology. The increase in such surgeries raises questions about whether more doctors [...]

    No Comments