Originally published in MedPage Today by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer Pandemic H1N1 influenza behaved much like seasonal and previous pandemic flu viruses in an early, isolated outbreak at a New York City high school, researchers found. Natural history and transmissibility characteristics were similar in an April outbreak that sickened about 800 students and staff members, according to Justin Lessler, PhD, ...

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There have been plenty of posts debating the wisdom of the recent breast cancer screening guidelines. The New York Times has some of the best stuff, explaining the rationale of the decision, with a good discussion on the math and statistics surrounding the issue. Here's an example in an article entitled, Mammogram Math. But it goes beyond the public not accepting empirical evidence. Another piece from economist Richard H. Thaler again ...

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by Mark E. Klein, MD "I think anytime you use science to kind of fundamentally change what people are used to, I think it's a difficult thing to grapple with.” So spoke Ned Calonge, chair of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in explaining the reaction to that group’s recommendation to radically alter their previous guidelines for breast cancer screening. Regrettably the incorrect application of science, as in ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent Rising blood levels of several biomarkers show the presence of ovarian cancer -- just not early enough. That's the conclusion of a retrospective longitudinal case-control study of levels of half a dozen proteins linked to the disease, according to Garnet Anderson, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent It's 1984. A 20-year-old homosexual man walks into the clinic complaining of swollen glands. It could well be a death sentence. It is only three years since the first handful of cases of what would come to be known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) were described. Little is known about ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent Brazilian researchers have found three distinct patterns of lung damage in patients who died of the H1N1 pandemic flu. They also found evidence of a so-called "cytokine storm," a runaway immune response associated with the lung damage, according to Thais Mauad, MD, PhD, of Sao Paulo University Medical School, ...

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There's no question that CT scans are among the most overused medical tests. One newer application has been using CT scans to detect coronary artery calcification for primary prevention of heart disease. It's a technology of unproven promise, with entities like the USPSTF recommending against it. Worse, especially in light of the recent data suggesting significant radiation exposure from CT scans, it may even be harmful. Patients need to understand ...

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The recent uproar over the new screening mammography recommendations got me thinking about a lot of stuff. One of the lessons cited by some journalists and pundits is on how potentially volatile information should be presented to the public. The USPSTF was excoriated by critics not only for what it said, but how it said it. While the objections over the former can be dismissed as ravings of loud and ...

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Originally published in MedPage Today by Chris Emery, MedPage Today Contributing Writer Emergency physicians and radiologists overwhelmingly choose computed tomography (CT) imaging to diagnose pulmonary embolism, a potentially deadly blockage of lung arteries, a new study found. Ninety percent of radiologists and 96% of emergency physicians use CT as their first-line choice for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism, according to a report ...

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With the recent changes in breast cancer screening, mammograms have increasingly used as a political tool. Internist Robert Centor points to an article from Politco, which shows how far it's gone. Not surprisingly, polls have shown that 76 percent of women disagree with the new USPSTF guidelines. And politicians are using this to their advantage. Any suggestion to rein in tests, gets re-framed as, in the case of ...

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