Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

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  • 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 [...]

    7 Comments
  • 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 [...]

    13 Comments
  • 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 [...]

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  • Jul 19 2011

    Robotic surgery: good studies of effectiveness “never been done…not going to magically appear now”

    My former health journalism grad student, Hiran Ratnayake of the Wilmington (DE) News Journal, reports “Robotic surgery gains ground in Delaware hospitals; Not all convinced new technique is best option.” Excerpts: “The robot is the classic example of where good quality studies of their effectiveness compared to other available interventions have never been done,” said [...]

    1 Comment
  • Jun 28 2011

    “Harm has been done” – spine journal’s critical review of Medtronic Infuse studies

    The Spine Journal has published a special June issue focusing on Medtronic’s INFUSE product, or rhBMP-2, a bone growth product commonly used in spine fusion surgeries. A journal news release states: A critical review of 13 industry-sponsored studies on a spine surgery product found that the actual risk of adverse events was 10 to 50 [...]

    2 Comments
  • Jun 14 2011

    How do patients decide to accept implantable heart devices?

    Yesterday we posted a guest column that raised questions about whether reseachers overstate the benefits of implantable heart devices known as implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. Ultimately, that issue could influence the messages that patients receive. A paper in the journal Health Expectations, “Patients’ decision making to accept or decline an [...]

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