Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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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  • Jun 13 2011

    Guest post: Are heart device study authors overselling their benefits?

    This is a guest column by Ivan Oransky, MD, who is executive editor of Reuters Health and blogs at Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch. ——————————————————————————————————– One of the criticisms of health news coverage is that it is often too boosterish, breathlessly reporting new findings without any context, particularly when it comes to side effects. It’s [...]

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  • Jun 8 2011

    Small town, small hospital example of how robotic surgery is promoted

    Lest anyone think that the recent studies showing how marketing is driving up the use of robotic prostatectomy (see yesterday’s post, “Ads & news (often resembling ads) fuel growing use of robotic prostatectomy“) is just academic hypothesis, let me roll out what promoters often do – an anecdote. After yesterday’s post, a physician (who wished [...]

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  • Jun 7 2011

    Ads & news (often resembling ads) fuel growing use of robotic prostatectomy

    An analysis, “Consumerism and its impact on robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy,” in the journal BJUI (formerly the British Journal of Urology) concluded that media coverage and marketing of robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy on the Internet is more widespread compared to laparoscopic and open radical methods of prostate removal. And that: “Disturbingly, the quality of websites using any [...]

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  • May 23 2011

    Chicago Tribune reports on clinical trial ethics/conflict of interest question

    The Chicago Tribune reports, “Patients at heart of medical device issue: Recipients of life-saving products may not know of potential conflicts of interest when doctors put their own inventions to use.” The Tribune reports that the case they report on: “… highlights the tangled web of interests patients face when they require medical devices …showing [...]

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  • May 18 2011

    Hospital websites hype robotic surgery, ignore risks, influenced by manufacturer

    A paper published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality examined the content of information on 400 randomly selected U.S. hospital websites about robotic surgery. Results: “Forty-one percent of hospital websites described robotic surgery. Among these, 37% percent presented robotic surgery on their homepage, 73% used manufacturer-provided stock images or text, and 33% linked to a [...]

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  • May 17 2011

    Urologists’ report: more prostate cancer surgery driven by more robotic procedures

    “Adoption of robotic technology fueled rapid growth in the use of prostatectomy at a time when the incidence of prostate cancer decreased, investigators reported (at an American Urological Association conference in Washington, DC, according to MedPageToday . They quoted Hugh J. Lavery, MD, of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York: “The cancer outcomes and [...]

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  • May 6 2011

    See ProPublica’s breakdown of millions spent by industry “festooning” Heart Rhythm Society conference

    See the latest in ProPublica’s “Dollars for Doctors” series, this one headlined “Financial Ties Bind Medical Societies To Drug and Device Makers.” It begins: “From the time they arrived to the moment they laid their heads on hotel pillows, the thousands of cardiologists attending this week’s Heart Rhythm Society conference have been bombarded with pitches [...]

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