Health News Review
  • Feb 24 2015

    Stop blaming “demanding patients” for driving up health care costs

    A recent JAMA Oncology paper by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, “Patient Demands and Requests for Cancer Tests and Treatments,” is worth a look. The authors note that: “Surveyed physicians tend to place responsibility for high medical costs more on “demanding patients” than themselves. However, there are few data about the [...]

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  • Jul 9 2014

    What women need to know about USNWR’s “16 Health Screenings All Women Need”

    When I see a headline such as “16 Health Screenings All Women Need,” I steel myself for what comes next. “All women need“? What came next in the US News & World Report column was a list of recommendations that included imbalance, incompleteness, and more controversy than the column suggests. For example: On clinical breast [...]

  • Sep 9 2013

    When the word “cancer” corrupts thought and action. Labeling hurts. The words matter.

    In recent weeks, there have been new calls for new names for some cancer diagnoses – cancer labels – that change peoples’ lives forever. This week in the BMJ, Dr. Barry Kramer, director of the National Cancer Institute’s division of cancer prevention, and two colleagues wrote an editorial, “The word ‘cancer’:  how language can corrupt [...]

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  • Aug 26 2013

    TV station should stop promoting questionable screening tests at MN State Fair

    This is the third year I’ve written about questionable screening test promotions presented by Minneapolis TV station KARE-11 at the Minnesota State Fair. In 2011: What kind of informed decision-making place took place before Fair goers were lured in for prostate cancer screening? In 2012:  What kind of informed decision-making place took place before Fair [...]

  • 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 29 2013

    Cautions on cancer screening, overdiagnosis and overtreatment

    Several noteworthy articles in journals today. In JAMA, a breast cancer specialist, a prostate cancer specialist, and an esophogeal cancer specialist co-authored a Viewpoint article, “Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment in Cancer: An Opportunity for Improvement.” Excerpt: “In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute convened a meeting to evaluate the problem of “overdiagnosis,” which occurs when tumors [...]

  • Jul 23 2013

    Articles in JAMA Int Med suggest echocardiography and bone densitometry overused

    It’s interesting how journalists may jump all over featured articles in medical journals, while failing to report on others in the same journal with common themes. Such is the case with: A great deal of news coverage of echocardiography papers in JAMA Internal Medicine:  “Echocardiographic Screening of the General Population and Long-term Survival.” That study [...]

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  • May 14 2013

    News story shines light on hospitals promoting questionable screenings

    Kudos to Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News, and the Washington Post for publishing the story, “Hospitals promote screenings that experts say many people do not need.” It’s a story that is reported infrequently, even though it could be reported any time in almost any city in the US – the practice is that widespread. The [...]

  • May 9 2013

    One doc’s 5 rules to battle “more” testing and treatment

    Dr. Rob Lamberts writes on his Musings of a Distractible Mind blog: Asking for “more” has caused trouble over the ages.  Adam and Eve wanted more food choices, the people of Pompeii wanted more mountain-side housing, Napoleon and Adolph Hitler wanted to spend more time in Russia, and America wanted more of the Kardashians. We [...]

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  • Nov 23 2012

    Roundup of some reactions to NEJM mammography overdiagnosis analysis

    There has been much reaction to a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, “Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence.” It is at times like this that a lone blogger like me on a holiday weekend can easily feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task of trying to capture [...]