Health News Review
  • Oct 7 2011

    Thoughtful analysis of the USPSTF and prostate cancer screening

    …reening in the control group. The validity of the negative PLCO results is uncertain. The ERSPC study was more credible, but showed only a small absolute survival benefit. This benefit must be balanced against the harms of overdiagnosis–finding cancers that would never cause clinical problems during a man’s lifetime–and the resulting overtreatment, which can lead to urinary, bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Unfortunately, we c…

  • Feb 10 2011

    Pioneer Press publishes my call for balance in cancer screening messages

    …uch promotions. Dartmouth’s Dr. Gil Welch (author of “Should I Be Tested For Cancer? Maybe Not, And Here’s Why”) wrote about mammography in a medical journal: “The question is no longer whether overdiagnosis occurs, but how often it occurs.” He included the following table to explain the tradeoffs of harms and benefits (debits and credits) – and this was for 50-year old women, for whom the evidence of …

  • Sep 15 2014

    USA Today story shows lack of awareness of debate over pre-diabetes classification

    … pre-diabetes does not mean that you will develop diabetes. In fact, of 100 people like you, fewer than 50 are likely to develop diabetes in the next 10 years.”  And it has an entire section on “Harms and risks of overdiagnosis.”  Excerpt of that section: “There is a hazard in creating a pre-disease associated with a disease such as type 2 diabetes, which is itself little more than a risk factor. The biochemical diagnosis …

  • Oct 3 2012

    9-part series on over-diagnosis

    Ray Moynihan, a terrific health care journalist who is now pursuing his PhD on overdiagnosis and working as a Senior Research Fellow at Bond University in Australia, kicks off the first of a nine-part series, “Over-diagnosis Epidemic” on TheConversation.edu.au website. The first part is an introduction, “Preventing over-diagnosis:  how to stop harming the healthy.” Other colleagues author the subsequent parts in the serie…

  • Sep 16 2014

    Evidence/balance lacking in Philly story on “Don’t Fear The Finger” campaign

    The Philadelphia Inquirer published a story, “Prostate cancer activists launch ‘the finger’ campaign to stem decline in testing.“  It begins: Kristine Warner wanted an eye-catching way to encourage men to talk to their doctors about the complicated, controversial subject of prostate cancer screening. Don’t Fear The Finger campaign was born. Go ahead and snicker. It got your attention. The finger in question, of cou…

  • Feb 6 2013

    Five year survival rates can mislead – message to medical educators, medical journals, journalists and the public

    … lives?  For two reasons. The first is lead time bias. Earlier detection implies that the time of diagnosis is earlier; this alone leads to higher survival at five years evenwhen patients do not live any longer. The second is overdiagnosis. Screening detects abnormalities that meet the pathological definition of cancer but that will never progress to cause symptoms or death (non-progressive or slow growing cancers). The higher the number of overd…

  • May 28 2013

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

    …orted and shared, so that the full picture of the benefits and harms of tested interventions can be seen (see, for example, http://www.alltrials.net). Conferences hosted by PharmedOut (http://www.pharmedout.org/) and Avoiding Overdiagnosis (http://www.preventingoverdiagnosis.net/) It concludes: “The largest challenge may be to recognize and prioritize mental health globally—with the requisite political visibility, funding, research, and at…

  • Jun 25 2014

    Which journalists reported an extra dimension on the 3-D mammography story?

    … Policy and Clinical Practice. “It’s about reducing breast cancer deaths. We don’t know whether this new technology finds more cancers destined to kill people.” … “There’s a debate about the harms of screening and overdiagnosis of breast cancers from mammograms and to me, this doesn’t resolve that,” said Dr. Etta Pisano, a breast imaging radiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina who wrote an editorial that accompanied th…

  • Feb 4 2014

    My weekly fix from Richard Lehman’s journal review blog

    Jut a few gems from the February 3 edition: “Oh great. Another phase 2 study of a pricey monoclonal antibody to address the “epidemic of osteoporosis,” i.e. a pharma-driven epidemic of overdiagnosis in older women. With a nice surrogate end point: bone mineral density, which bears an oblique relationship to fracture risk. And, in a market crowded with competing cheap agents, a placebo comparator.” “The editor of the NEJM, Jeff…

  • Dec 3 2012

    Critic calls American Psychiatric Assoc. approval of DSM-V “a sad day for psychiatry”

    … stigma this will cause. 8) DSM 5 has created a slippery slope by introducing the concept of Behavioral Addictions that eventually can spread to make a mental disorder of everything we like to do a lot. Watch out for careless overdiagnosis of internet and sex addiction and the development of lucrative treatment programs to exploit these new markets. 9) DSM 5 obscures the already fuzzy boundary been Generalized Anxiety Disorder and the worries of …




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