Doc-blogger blasts Medscape’s CME exercises on observational studies

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Obesity medicine doc-blogger Yoni Freedhoff writes, “Why I Can No Longer Trust Medscape.”  In a nutshell, he’s driven nuts by Medscape being “probably the largest online continuing medical education (CME) provider” but using that platform to do the following:

“Looking at the 3 most recent observational study failures, where the studies were so poor as to make conclusions impossible, 2 of the 3 made it to Medscape as CME exercises, and one was put out in their news to family physicians segment. I blogged about all of these studies. There was the diet soda being linked with strokes study, the white rice being linked with diabetes study, and the chocolate being linked with weight loss study.

Of the 3, the worst was probably the chocolate study which frankly never should have been published.

And what did Medscape do with the study?

It included it in their CME program where their learning points included the erroneous and downright irresponsible “clinical implication“, that,

“Greater frequency of chocolate intake is associated with lower BMI, but the amount of chocolate intake is not associated with BMI”

While Medscape in theory is a fabulous service, if their understanding of other areas of medicine is on par with their understanding of nutrition, in practice they’re putting patients at risk by actively misinforming their physicians.  Given I have no reason to think otherwise I’m going to err on the side of caution and assume the same lack of care, attention and critical appraisal they’re paying nutrition is their norm.

The solution?

Stop using their services or simply assume that their take on medical literature isn’t in any way, shape or form, critical, thoughtful or helpful”


Meantime, in a somewhat related note, the award for the worst story of the week about an observational study goes to CBS for “Can alcohol make men smarter?  Study suggests yes.

Can people who write about observational studies make readers smarter?  Please?


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