Why aren't drugs tested on pregnant women? The answer is so obvious, I thought the question was rhetorical:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says pharmaceutical companies have not tested drugs on pregnant women for ethical reasons, and especially because they're afraid of being sued if the fetus is harmed.

NY Times - Why doctors get it wrong:

But we still could be doing a lot better. Under the current medical system, doctors, nurses, lab technicians and hospital executives are not actually paid to come up with the right diagnosis. They are paid to perform tests and to do surgery and to dispense drugs.

There is no bonus for curing someone and no penalty for failing, ...

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Officials in Massachusetts are debating whether to ban handouts of formula to new mothers:

Backers of the ban say the formula gifts discourage new mothers from breast-feeding. Formula manufacturers call the ban unnecessary and doubt ending the decades-old custom would lead to a rise in the number of mothers who breast-feed.

Romney, who is weighing a bid for the White House in 2008, said mothers know what's best ...

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The VIGOR authors to the NEJM - "Bite me":

The letters come two months after the editors of The New England Journal of Medicine published their first "expression of concern" about the November 2000 article, sharply criticizing Merck "” and, implicitly, the outside scientists who were co-authors "” for failing to present a complete picture of Vioxx's heart risks.

In their letter yesterday, the outside scientists strongly disagreed. ...

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More supplements wilt in the face of evidence. This time it's glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate for mild osteoarthritis:

Two hot-selling supplements used by millions of Americans, including President Bush, are of little help to most people with mild arthritis, concludes a large government study that is part of an effort to scrutinize unregulated health remedies.

For most arthritis patients with aching knees, the two supplements sold in ...

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Medtees.com: T-Shirts that empower patients with illnesses. Interesting site I read about recently in AMNews.



Washington's governor is being kudoed for brokering compromise. "There is more to do on malpractice, patient safety and doctor transparency, but this a strong beginning. Gregoire's hard-nosed negotiating skills prove once again to be one of her most successful leadership traits."

Mirapex and gambling. Doctor sues the drug company and casinos after losing $14 million:

Wells, a retired pathologist, was first diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2000, according to the lawsuit. After taking Mirapex for several months in 2004, Wells "developed an irresistible compulsion to gamble," the lawsuit said.

Wells, who Thomas said had been an occasional gambler, lost several thousand dollars gambling in Las Vegas and on the Internet, ...

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News flash: Health care costs continue to rise.

NY Times - Why patients don't listen to scientific studies:

It is medicine's eternal quest, these days, to sell impressive science to unimpressed patients, and it is hard to think of a group less equipped to do it than doctors. Doctors are specifically trained not to think like normal people, not to see what others see or to reason as others reason. They - er, we - come to ...

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Coming soon to the UK - "voluntary" physician audits:

The inspections are being described as 360-degree audits, as they would involve discussions with the doctor under review as well as the doctors` colleagues and his patients.

Inspection teams will include volunteers and medical experts, as well as external examiners.

The team will then submit a report to a performance committee who will decide if the doctor is ...

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Hell has frozen over. Lawyers and doctors compromise on a "mini-mal" solution in Washington state:

"I do applaud all sides for coming together to create a compromise solution," Hewitt said in a news release. "But I think it's important that we don't lose sight of the fact that we have not solved our medical liability problems. This solution could be summed up as 'mini-mal.' It's a bit like having ...

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Seen at a doc-in-the-box near you. "And for $199, a patient can buy a 'healthy lover' package that includes a physical exam and tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases."

How to force a doctor to respect you. "As long as you have kept to your side of the respect bargain, then you will have a sense of whether your doctor is capable of respecting you in return. If he grows impatient, digs in his heels or is unwilling to discuss with you further, then you have a decision to make."

Middle-school science project update: Ice from fast food restaurants was dirtier than toilet water.

The British Medical Association wants to ban neckties:

But it is also helped by doctors wearing "functionless" and potentially germ-laden clothing. "Ties, in our view, are an unnecessary piece of clothing," said Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's head of ethics and science.

"We recognise that people touch their ties and wear them for a long time. People have to recognise the potential danger."

Newer (and more expensive) doesn't mean better. Sudafed performs about the same as Singulair:

The research, published in the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery, is based on a small sample and focuses exclusively on two specific drugs: a 240-milligram dose of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (sold over the counter under the brand name Sudafed 24 Hour) and a 10-mg dose of montelukast sodium (prescription brand name Singulair). "When ...

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I wonder who came up with the hypothesis? Chewing gum post-op may reduce ileus:

A US team found chewing gum seemed to speed up the return of normal bowel function, and therefore help shorten hospital stays.

They believe gum may stimulate the same nerves as eating, promoting the release of hormones that activate the gastrointestinal tract.

The study, by Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, California, is published in ...

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Anesthesiologists halt a planned execution due to ethical concerns. The Bioethics Discussion Blog weighs in:

My question: Where was our California Medical Board in this whole issue? If they are our guardians of medical practice, shouldn't the Board have made a formal statement about the role of a California physician participating in an execution as currently requested for the two anesthesiologists?

A mysterious death at the local VA. "Boston police are awaiting autopsy results to determine what killed a 64-year-old man who died under suspicious circumstances while being treated at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Roxbury."

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