Health News Review
  • Dec 12 2013

    The unvarying story of health care variations – Dartmouth Atlas on children’s care

    Jack Wennberg made his mark by documenting health care variations in the way certain services were utilized – even in adjacent communities in New England. One of the early signs that caught his attention was when his own kids were of the tonsillectomy age. He found, as Reuters recalls, “that rates of tonsillectomy are 60 [...]

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  • Oct 15 2013

    Reflecting on one little paper in Science 40 years ago – Jack Wennberg’s legacy

    This week, Dartmouth celebrated the publication of a paper 40 years ago that it seemed no one wanted to publish. It was Jack Wennberg’s Science magazine paper, “Small Area Variations in Health Care Delivery.” In the Los Angeles Times today, Dartmouth’s Gil Welch writes: “Similar populations living in different regions of the United States get [...]

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  • 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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  • 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 [...]

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  • May 28 2013

    Journal editors decry the paradox of mental health: overtreatment and under-recognition

    The editors of the journal PLoS Medicine today published an editorial, “The Paradox of Mental Health: Over-Treatment and Under-Recognition.” Excerpts: “On the one hand is over-treatment and over-medicalization of mental health issues, often fueled by a pharmaceutical industry interested in the broadening of the boundaries of “illness” and in the creation of more and wider [...]

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  • May 28 2013

    Waste & Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension: overtreatment, industry influence

    Dr. Iona Heath, a retired general practitioner and member of the UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners, writes in JAMA Internal Medicine‘s “Less Is More” column about “Waste and Harm in the Treatment of Mild Hypertension.” (subscription required for access to full text) This is a topic that receives very little attention. After all, who [...]

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  • 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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  • Feb 7 2013

    David Healy’s depressing reflection on 25th anniversary of Prozac & SSRIs for depression

    Psychiatrist-author David Healy blogs about “Prozac and SSRIs:  Twenty-fifth Anniversary.” In his post, he touches on: the phenomenal explosion in the use of antidepressants suicides triggered by antidepressant use birth defects and miscarriages from antidepressants used in pregnancy “the dead doctor sketch” – what antidepressant prescribing has done to the practice of medicine and to [...]

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  • Dec 13 2012

    Other views on the NYT op-ed, “The 2,000 Year-Old Wonder Drug”

    Dr. David Agus, tireless promoter of his book, “The End of Illness,” and whose involvement in an ABC news story about a reporter’s coronary calcium CT scan led to the network correcting/retracting the piece, is now at it again. The New York Times published his op-ed piece, “The 2,000-Year-Old Wonder Drug,” the start of which [...]

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