As I predicted yesterday, there has been nary a story on the US Preventive Services Task Force’s new statement that the evidence isn’t in yet on nine ways to look for signs of coronary heart disease in people without symptoms.
Journalists – many of whom sang the praises of at least two of those methods (the CRP test and coronary artery calcium CT scans) – either aren’t aware or don’t care about cautious, evidence-based recommendations from the USPSTF.
This is a setback for CRP believers, a group whose numbers swelled significantly when Paul Ridker reported last November that giving “healthy” adults who had hs-CRP of 2.0 mg/L or higher a potent statin for less than 2 years reduced “the rate of MI stroke, arterial revascularization, or cardiovascular death was 44% (P<0.00001)."
Those findings came from the JUPITER trial and when they were announced there were lots of pundits predicting that hs-CRP would become everyone’s favorite test and that maybe it really was time to consider putting statins in the water.
Since last November churning out additional analyses from JUPITER has become something of a cottage industry and some weeks it is difficult to pick up a heart journal or attend a cardiology meeting without being confronted with yet another JUPITER result.
In my opinion it had gotten out-of-hand, so about a month ago I started telling every PR person so sent me the latest breathless JUPITER press release that “I am done with JUPITER.”
But here I am, once again, strumming the JUPITER tune. There’s no escaping it.
Well, there may no escaping it for journalists like Peck.
But almost every other journalist and news organization – so far – has found such news very easy to escape.
It seems to me that when previously highly-promoted approaches are judged to be not ready for prime time by an independent panel with no axe to grind, that’s news.