This is the kind of health care news that scares me. Another new drug has just been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it comes with serious questions about both its safety and its efficacy.
Addyi (flibanserin)—aka “female Viagra” because it will be used to treat low sex drive in women—will be available by prescription later this year, and the drug company no doubt hopes it will be as wildly popular and profitable as Viagra has been for men.
However the FDA only approved Addyi with the safety restriction that the drug be sold with a “boxed” … Continue reading
I’m very much in the “less is more” camp when it comes to medical care.
So it would seem I would be very interested in the latest research out of Finland that shows, at first glance, antibiotics to be as effective as surgery in treating appendicitis.
Avoiding surgery should be a good thing, right?
This study was published last month in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association). Many news media picked up and reported the story, some even saying antibiotic therapy could become the new normal for treating appendicitis as, they said, it is safer and cheaper.
But … Continue reading
As a child, I remember my mother declaring that of our entire family (2 adults and 4 kids) she was the only one who was pestered by mosquitoes when we were at our summer cabin by the lake.
She felt understandably persecuted by the little blood-sucking menaces.
And she probably was right.
WebMD reports that “genetics account for a whopping 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites.”
New research out of the London School of Tropical Medicine confirms this.
The researchers used pairs of identical and fraternal twins who volunteered to be mosquito meat (who would do that?!).
… Continue reading
Recently, the US Public Health Service issued new recommendations to slightly lower the amount of fluoride that’s put in our community drinking water.
That’s because we have access to other sources of fluoride, mostly toothpaste and mouth rinses, so we don’t need as much in the water supply.
Since the early 1960s our tap water has been fluoridated, and the incidence of tooth decay has been significantly decreased. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) hails community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements… Continue reading
I’ve written several posts on calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is an important nutrient, but most evidence suggests we need to get more calcium in what we eat, rather than supplements.
It’s the same with vitamin D. We need to eat a variety of foods that are rich in vitamin D and also spend more time in the sunshine. There is no data at this time to support vitamin D supplements.
Related post: Healthy adults don’t need multivitamins
But it’s difficult to follow the recommended intake levels of both nutrients. Every day I try to eat foods … Continue reading
Huh. Sitting down too much increases our risk of cancer.
A new study out of Sweden tells us that women who have sedentary jobs and don’t get enough exercise outside of work have the highest increased risk of breast and uterine cancer.
This study looked specifically at those two cancers, but other similar research has linked the lack of exercise to other types of cancer, as well.
And heart disease. And diabetes. And depression.
I don’t need a study to remind me that I probably sit too much in front of my computer and it would benefit me physically and … Continue reading
I recently posted about health care’s problem of unreliable, biased and sometimes downright fraudulent research.
It’s important that we are aware of the scope of the problem, because so much medical treatment—screenings, drugs, surgical procedures—is being sold based on these untrustworthy reports.
And more stories are coming forward.
Over on HealthNewsReview.org, the health journalism watchdog blog, Gary Schwitzer highlights two articles:
This study revealed that poorly designed or fraudulent research still gets into “peer-reviewed” journals, despite the FDA. What is a … Continue reading
All around the country, and certainly in my own city (Seattle), hospital construction has been booming over the last ten years.
Billions of dollars are being spent, and not just for necessary upgrades. Hospitals are going for a more upscale look in the hopes that they can attract better paying patients (those with the best insurance coverage) and get better patient satisfaction scores.
And patient satisfaction scores are important because Medicare is basing some reimbursements on those scores—if the patient isn’t happy, Medicare won’t pay.
But a couple of recent studies have shown that patients don’t give hospitals better ratings … Continue reading
I’ve seen several recent news stories on kids and allergies.
For some time, it’s seemed to me that the incidence of childhood allergies, especially serious ones like peanut allergies, have been on the increase.
Food labels carry warnings about possible peanut contamination; schools ban snacks or sack lunches containing peanuts; some airlines have designated “peanut-free” zones. It’s crazy and disturbing. And do you know how much an Epi-Pen costs??
Aaron Carroll, MD, the pediatrician who blogs at The Incidental Economist had a good post on the subject: By shielding infants from stuff, we may be making allergies worse
Since 2000, … Continue reading
A few days ago, Vox.com published an interview with Stanford researcher John Ioannidis, MD. Dr. Ioannidis is a meta-researcher, that is he researches research.
How accurate are research studies? How are they designed? How many subjects are involved? Can the results be duplicated? How do the results from one study compare with another?
These are the types of questions Dr. Ioannidis attempts to answer, as well as leading the effort to fix what is broken in our medical research system.
Because it is broken.
As the article states:
Medical research is in bad shape. Fraud, bias, sloppiness, and inefficiency are
… Continue reading