PalMD , Peter Lipson , PalMD , PalMD

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  • March 7, 2012
  • 01:16 PM
  • 885 views

Accountability in Science Journalism: two recent examples of failures in the NYT and Forbes

by PalMD in denialism blog

Ed Yong demands higher accountability in science journalism and has made me think of how in the last two days I've run across two examples of shoddy reporting. These two articles I think encompass a large part of the problem, the first from the NYT, represents the common failure of science reporters to be critical of correlative results. While lacking egregious factual errors, in accepting the authors' conclusions without vetting the results of the actual paper, the journalist has created a mi........ Read more »

  • August 25, 2011
  • 04:00 PM
  • 6,071 views

When a “scientific study” is neither

by Peter Lipson in Science-Based Medicine

There is quite a bit of art to the practice of medicine: knowing how to get and to give information to a patient, how to create a sense of worry without creating a feeling of panic, how to use the best available science to help them maintain or return to health.  Underlying all of the [...]... Read more »

  • August 18, 2011
  • 12:59 PM
  • 1,188 views

When a "scientific study" is neither

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

There is quite a bit of art to the practice of medicine: knowing how to get and to give information to a patient, how to create a sense of worry without creating a feeling of panic, how to use the best available science to help them maintain or return to health.  Underlying all of the [...]... Read more »

  • July 23, 2011
  • 01:01 AM
  • 2,692 views

Asthma, placebo, and how not to kill your patients

by Peter Lipson in Science-Based Medicine

A number of years ago I was walking along Lake Michigan with a friend (a fellow medical resident) when she turned to me and said, “are you wheezing?  Do you have asthma?”  I had always been physically active and assumed my breathlessness while walking down the trail was due to the thirty extra pounds of [...]... Read more »

Wechsler ME, Kelley JM, Boyd IO, Dutile S, Marigowda G, Kirsch I, Israel E, & Kaptchuk TJ. (2011) Active albuterol or placebo, sham acupuncture, or no intervention in asthma. The New England journal of medicine, 365(2), 119-26. PMID: 21751905  

  • July 21, 2011
  • 09:39 PM
  • 1,790 views

Asthma, placebo, and how not to kill your patients

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

A number of years ago I was walking along Lake Michigan with a friend (a fellow medical resident) when she turned to me and said, "are you wheezing?  Do you have asthma?"  I had always been physically active and assumed my breathlessness while walking down the trail was due to the thirty extra pounds of [...]... Read more »

Wechsler ME, Kelley JM, Boyd IO, Dutile S, Marigowda G, Kirsch I, Israel E, & Kaptchuk TJ. (2011) Active albuterol or placebo, sham acupuncture, or no intervention in asthma. The New England journal of medicine, 365(2), 119-26. PMID: 21751905  

  • July 14, 2011
  • 09:26 PM
  • 1,772 views

The "hCG diet": a fraud literally without substance

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Back in the 1950s, a British endocrinologist named ATW Simeons had an idea: a human pregnancy hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) could help people lose weight without feeling hungry.  His idea was to put obese patients on a 500 kcal a day diet (in contrast, you probably eat about that much or more at [...]... Read more »

Young RL, Fuchs RJ, & Woltjen MJ. (1976) Chorionic gonadotropin in weight control. A double-blind crossover study. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 236(22), 2495-7. PMID: 792477  

Stein MR, Julis RE, Peck CC, Hinshaw W, Sawicki JE, & Deller JJ Jr. (1976) Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: a double-blind study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 29(9), 940-8. PMID: 786001  

Rabe T, Richter S, Kiesel L, & Runnebaum B. (1987) [Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females]. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 47(5), 297-307. PMID: 3609673  

  • June 15, 2011
  • 07:09 PM
  • 1,683 views

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

I can't seem to stop myself from writing about pee, and I'm not even a nephrologist.  But I deal with pee every day, and many of my younger patients with urinary tract infections will tell me all of the home and herbal remedies they tried before they came to see me.  One of the most [...]... Read more »

Raz, R., Chazan, B., & Dan, M. (2004) Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 38(10), 1413-1419. DOI: 10.1086/386328  

  • May 1, 2011
  • 12:59 PM
  • 1,667 views

How much would you pay to see your doctor?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

We pay far too much for health care in this country, spending ridiculous amounts and getting outcomes no better than countries that spend a fraction of what we do.  But most efforts at reforming the system have been aimed not toward better, more cost-effective care. The last twenty years have seen all sorts of experiments [...]... Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 09:32 AM
  • 1,628 views

Dr. Oz, you’re not helping diabetics

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Dr. Mehmet Oz is one of America’s most influential doctors.  Just ask him.  He has a TV show and everything.  And in the past, much of his advice had been practical and mundane, the same advice you might hear from your own (perhaps less charismatic) physician.  But lately, he’s been giving out frankly bizarre medical [...]... Read more »

Salazar-Martinez E, Willett WC, Ascherio A, Manson JE, Leitzmann MF, Stampfer MJ, & Hu FB. (2004) Coffee consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Annals of internal medicine, 140(1), 1-8. PMID: 14706966  

  • February 17, 2011
  • 07:26 PM
  • 2,230 views

Blood coming out the wazoo

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

The ICU can be a terrifying place for an intern.  Of course, the patients are probably a bit more frightened, but then, many of them are unconscious.  Rounds are endless in the ICU; new admissions, work rounds, teaching rounds, evaluations for transfer, afternoon rounds, lasix rounds (don’t ask), all punctuated by CPR codes on the [...]... Read more »

  • February 10, 2011
  • 09:14 PM
  • 1,371 views

A good idea gone horribly awry

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

In most scientific disciplines, medicine included, hypotheses start with observations.  When John Snow became curious about a London cholera outbreak, he looked for patterns and found that many cases centered around a local well.  While he didn’t have a clear idea what caused cholera, he suspected the water as a source, and tested his hypothesis [...]... Read more »

  • February 3, 2011
  • 07:52 PM
  • 1,291 views

What does your doctor look like, and how much is she paid?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Not to be a nudge, but you could vote for me for a Medgadget Medical Weblog Award in one (or both, presumably) of two categories: Best Medical Blog, or Best Literary Medical Blog.  Voting will be open for another ten days. Currently, over 48% of medical school graduates are women.  Seven percent of medical school [...]... Read more »

  • January 26, 2011
  • 10:37 PM
  • 989 views

Is abortion associated with mental illness?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Anti-abortion groups, having largely failed to convince the American public that abortion is morally abhorrent, have tried to shift the debate to their concern about women’s health.  The same groups who would forbid abortion after rape or incest, or when the mother’s life is endangered claim to be saving women from “post-abortion syndrome”, a mythical [...]... Read more »

Munk-Olsen, T., Laursen, T., Pedersen, C., Lidegaard, �., & Mortensen, P. (2011) Induced First-Trimester Abortion and Risk of Mental Disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(4), 332-339. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa0905882  

  • January 5, 2011
  • 10:01 PM
  • 1,399 views

Another worry for breast cancer patients?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Breast cancer is the most common (non-skin) cancer in women, and despite advances in treatment, it is still deeply feared, and with good reason.  But breast cancer is really several different diseases.  Breast cancers can arise from several different cell types, they can occur during the pre- or post-menopausal period, and they can have various [...]... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 09:34 PM
  • 1,428 views

You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

“Fake Pills Can Work, Even If Patients Know It” “Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Placebo Works Even if Patients Know” “Knowingly taking a placebo helps, study finds” “Sugar Pills Work Even When People Know They Are Fake” That’s just a sample of the headlines accompanying a new study on placebos published in PLoS ONE.  The study attempts [...]... Read more »

Kaptchuk, T., Friedlander, E., Kelley, J., Sanchez, M., Kokkotou, E., Singer, J., Kowalczykowski, M., Miller, F., Kirsch, I., & Lembo, A. (2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 5(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015591  

  • December 15, 2010
  • 08:42 PM
  • 1,815 views

Stick a needle in your eye?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

I was talking to a Reuters reporter the other day and learned of a new acupuncture study out of China, this one about amblyopia, or “lazy eye”.   Amblyopia is a common and interesting visual problem.  During development of the visual system if an eye is understimulated, the brain will not process data coming from [...]... Read more »

  • December 9, 2010
  • 05:27 PM
  • 1,379 views

Pregnant and high: new treatments?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Many years ago a woman came to OB triage at my hospital.  She was about 28 weeks pregnant and feeling horrible.   As the nurses hooked her up to monitors and started an IV, she clutched a pink, kidney-shaped emesis basin, her boyfriend holding her hair back and away.  A few minutes later, she called [...]... Read more »

Jones, H., Kaltenbach, K., Heil, S., Stine, S., Coyle, M., Arria, A., O'Grady, K., Selby, P., Martin, P., & Fischer, G. (2010) Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome after Methadone or Buprenorphine Exposure. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(24), 2320-2331. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1005359  

  • December 6, 2010
  • 11:09 PM
  • 1,610 views

Breathe deep?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Winter has come to the Great Lakes, no matter what the calendar says.  This morning I walked out the door to take out the trash and the cold took my breath away.   I warmed up the car while I had breakfast, perhaps not the most environmentally friendly practice, but… On my way to work, depending [...]... Read more »

Raghuraj P, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR, & Telles S. (1997) Pranayama increases grip strength without lateralized effects. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 41(2), 129-33. PMID: 9142556  

Pramanik, T., Sharma, H., Mishra, S., Mishra, A., Prajapati, R., & Singh, S. (2009) Immediate Effect of Slow Pace on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate . The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(3), 293-295. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2008.0440  

Bhargava R, Gogate MG, & Mascarenhas JF. (1988) Autonomic responses to breath holding and its variations following pranayama. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 32(4), 257-64. PMID: 3215678  

Pratap V, Berrettini WH, & Smith C. (1978) Arterial blood gases in Pranayama practice. Perceptual and motor skills, 46(1), 171-4. PMID: 25412  

  • December 1, 2010
  • 03:49 PM
  • 1,469 views

HIV in America—where do we go from here?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

The HIV pandemic in the US has developed a stable appearance over the last few years, and that appearance is notably non-white and non-wealthy.  When the pandemic was discovered nearly thirty years ago, it was—in the US—primarily a disease of gay men.  In Africa, the disease is everyone’s.  Women make up significantly more than half [...]... Read more »

DiClemente RJ, Wingood GM, Harrington KF, Lang DL, Davies SL, Hook EW 3rd, Oh MK, Crosby RA, Hertzberg VS, Gordon AB.... (2004) Efficacy of an HIV prevention intervention for African American adolescent girls: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 292(2), 171-9. PMID: 15249566  

  • November 22, 2010
  • 05:26 PM
  • 2,211 views

Omega-3′s and heart disease: where’s the evidence?

by PalMD in White Coat Underground

Omega-3 fatty acids (more properly called “n-3 fatty acids”) are a group of naturally occurring fat molecules.  They are found mainly in fish and other marine-derived oils, but some can also be extracted from plants.  Omega-3′s are currently very popular, but the evidence for their usefulness isn’t so clear.   A recent study failed to [...]... Read more »

Kromhout, D., Giltay, E., & Geleijnse, J. (2010) n–3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Events after Myocardial Infarction. New England Journal of Medicine, 363(21), 2015-2026. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1003603  

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