How the Massachusetts gift ban hurts primary care doctors

by Kate Atkinson, MD

Six years ago, I organized a group of female healthcare practitioners for a women’s medical journal club. A multidisciplinary team of doctors and NPs from primary care and sub-specialties regularly attended monthly dinners. Invited speakers presented on a variety of topics and over the course of a meeting we exchanged insights while challenging each other on how best to manage our challenging patients.

Our group grew …

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Cell towers do not increase childhood cancer risk

by Crystal Phend

Mobile phone base station towers boost cell reception, not childhood cancer risk, a British population-based study showed.

Children whose mothers lived near a high-output cell phone antenna mast while pregnant were no more likely to develop childhood cancer than those who lived farther away, found Paul Elliott, MBBS, PhD, of Imperial College London, and colleagues.

Exposure to an intermediate level of cell tower power output was associated with an adjusted …

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New medical student summer tips

by Shawn Vuong

Incoming medical students, I know you’re excited about medical school. I was in your same exact position about 2 years ago to the day. Every day I went to sleep and thought about how cool medical school was going to be, how much cool stuff I was going to learn, and how much my life was going to change.

I asked myself many questions.  Am I going …

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Certified stroke centers and ischemic stroke treatment realities

by John Fauber

Time is brain. Every minute wasted seeking treatment is measured in neuronal death, which is why stroke specialists were early supporters of certified stroke centers. Getting a stroke patient to the right center — a center that could administer clot-busting therapy quickly, and safely — was considered the surest way to “save brain.”

That was the concept behind the certified …

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Preventing postop infections need to be implemented as a package

by Kristina Fiore

Measures designed to prevent postoperative infections work if measured as a package, but looked at individually they provide no improvement, researchers found.

When analyzing the six components of the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) on an all-or-nothing basis, there was a 15% reduced risk of infection, according to Jonah J. Stulberg, MD, PhD, MPH, of Case Medical Center in Cleveland, and colleagues.

But the three core infection prevention measures taken …

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Sometimes more expensive care is better treatment

by James Gaulte, MD

A recent publication in the publication Health Affairs has evoked comments and some concern from advocates of comparative effectiveness research and admirers of the Dartmouth Atlas.

A survey of “consumers” found a level of skepticism that is alarming to those folks who are in the business of claiming to know what aspects of medical care should be offered.

The idea that more care and more costly care gives inferior …

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Are antidepressant drugs better than placebo for depression?

by James Baker, MD

Clinical psychologist Irving Kirsch is selling a new book in which he argues that anti-depressants aren’t much better than placebo.  He bases his claim on sophisticated statistical studies he has done that combine the results of antidepressant research trials from over the years.

The scary part is that he had to use the freedom of information act to get a hold of some of the studies.

His …

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What doctors think about drug and device marketing

by Charles Bankhead

Increased emphasis on conflicts of interest has yet to sway physicians’ generally positive attitudes toward drug and device manufacturers’ marketing activities, a survey of almost 600 attending physicians and trainees showed.

More than 70% of respondents saw nothing inappropriate about attending sponsored lunches, and 25% had no problems with accepting large gifts from industry representatives, according to an article in the June issue of Archives of Surgery.

Surgeons, trainees, and …

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