Imagine you want health care. You go to your doctor who recommends a medication. Your doctor tells you that the medication used to be prescribed one way 14 years ago, but very rigorous, more recent studies indicate a lower dose is just as effective. And has fewer side effects. And is less expensive. You are pleased because a) your doctor is up on the latest medical therapies, and b) the least ...

Read more...

The joint statement on laboring in water and delivering in water (the latter also known as immersion births) from the American Academy Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is making the rounds. I’ve linked to the full statement above, but in essence it says that some women find laboring in water helpful for pain relief (in the first stage of labor it reduces the need ...

Read more...

Interpreting studies is a dicey thing. Often I find what might be statistically significant translated into headlines that might not really get at the nuance of the study or the results. Take these three for example:

  1. "Pine bark extract improves severe perimenopausal symptoms"
  2. "Two weeks of antibiotic therapy relieves IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)"
  3. "Study: 'Female viagra flibanserin' works"
The first line of the last article: "Need a boost to your sex life. The magic could be in ...

Read more...

On our recent road trip I was amazed by the number of billboards (from several health care systems and hospitals) advertising texting for emergency room (ER) wait times. My first thought was, "if you can text, how emergent is it?" This was quickly followed by the concern that the option/advertising of texting about wait times might make the ER seem, well, less for acute care and more for convenient care. Should I be concerned? There ...

Read more...

The BMJ recently published the latest results from the Canadian National Breast Screening Study (CNBSS). A brief summary of the CNBSS: Women were randomly assigned to annual mammography or breast exams and then the outcomes tracked. The results in the BMJ: mammography did not improve survival. This is a very interesting study and when I first started working on this post I wanted to delve more into the science of ...

Read more...

My eldest son, the first-born of a set of extremely premature triplets, died a few minutes after he was born. Defying the odds I remained pregnant with my other two boys for 24 days. After holding him for some time in the delivery room, the same room where I myself had delivered hundred of babies and passed them on to families beaming with tears of joy, I was asked about his ...

Read more...

Brain death is death. This is one of the definitions of death. Even in Texas. Because brain death is death, a do not resuscitate (DNR) order or invalidating a DNR are both meaningless, because you don’t do procedures on dead bodies. This is why taking someone off a ventilator who is brain dead is not homicide, assisted suicide, or even following a DNR, it is simply the cessation of forcing air ...

Read more...

The infant mortality statistics are out again. This always depresses me because: 1) The rates are atrociously high, and, 2) There is so much legislation passed to restrict abortion in the name of “life,” but politicians and judges seems awfully silent on infant mortality. In the United States 6.4 infants out of every 1,000 born will not reach their first birthday. This is more than 24,000 infant deaths a year. The United States is also ...

Read more...

Arthroscopic knee surgery is big business in the United States. Arthroscopic partial meniscectomies alone cost $4 billion per year. Yes, billion. But do they work? I’ve written previously about arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus and how it adds nothing above and beyond physical therapy for people with arthritis. We also know that arthroscopic knee surgery for arthritis isn’t effective either. Given the poor performance of these other arthroscopic surgeries, ...

Read more...

Part of Katie Couric’s controversy on her show about the HPV vaccine was the claim by her expert, Dr. Diane Harper, that the vaccine only lasts for 5 years. I mean, why promote a 5 year vaccine to adolescent girls that will wear off and leave them at risk during their 20s? The problem with this controversy over the duration of vaccine effectiveness is that it is entirely manufactured. Dr. ...

Read more...

6 Pages