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Catching up on some health journalism gems from the holiday weekend

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A couple of gems you shouldn’t miss just because they were published over the holiday weekend.

Natasha Singer of the New York Times had an important piece, “When Patients Meet Online, Are There Side Effects?,” about privacy concerns when social networking sites like CureTogether.com and PatientsLikeMe.com, offer online communities for patients and collect members’ health data for research purposes.

John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published another in his “Side Effects” series on conflicts of interest in health care. This one was about doctors vouching for the drug Multaq for treating atrial fibrillation without ever having seen all of the data.

The Star Tribune began a “Too Much Medicine” series. Health editor Dave Hage informs that they’ve been working on this project for nearly a year with plans for a few more installments in coming months, each covering different ailments and procedures that are over-used or under-proven. (Unfortunately I think the series is only available in the print editions.)

Addendum on June 3: The Strib has now posted the first two pieces online.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/95188129.html
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/95233234.html

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