Holidays bring death for many Americans
An uplifting study to put you in that festive, Christmas mood.



The cover for this month's BMJUSA leaves nothing to the imagination.

The face of dioxin poisoning?
Chris Rangel with more on dioxin poisoning.

Update:
Pictures of Yushchenko from Instapundit.

CodeBlueBlog Wins 2004 Weblog Award for Best in its Category
Congratulations to our medical sleuth for a well-deserved award.

What are dioxins? Why the concern?
A good overview on dioxin and dioxin poisoning, in light of recent events.

Test Finds Inaccuracies in Help Line for Medicare
"Medicare's toll-free telephone line, one of the main vehicles for disseminating information about new prescription drug benefits and drug discount cards, gives accurate answers less than two-thirds of the time, Congressional investigators say."

If I gave accurate answers less than two-thirds of the time, I'd be out of a job.

AMA Issues Special Report on Pay for Performance to Member Physicians, USA
"According to the report, the pay-for-performance trend is a 'tsunami building offshore in a sea of stakeholder unrest, threatening those who are not prepared.' Medicare this year for the first time established pay-for-performance requirements for hospitals, and 'physicians believe they are going to be the next target for Medicare's pay for performance initiatives,' the Tribune reports."

Another ...

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On the Contrary: The Hidden Price Tag for Health Care
Paints a pretty bleak picture of rising health care costs.

Bristol-Myers pursues OTC sales for Pravachol
No surprise here. Statins have been OTC in Britain for the past year or so. Incidentally Pravachol is Bristol-Myers' biggest seller, and its patent will be expiring soon. This is purely money-based - don't believe anything about "health benefits" that the drug company claiming is behind the move.

Internet Drug Exporters Feel Pressure in Canada
It is inevitable that the practice of drug reimportation will wane as supply diminishes - only a matter of time. As they say, reimportation is only treating the symptom, not the disease.

Some hospitals cover LiveStrong bracelets
"The yellow bands are the same color as the 'do not resuscitate' bands a hospital chain puts on patients who don't want to be saved if their heart stops."

That's probably a good idea.

Consumer Reports recently opened their Best Buy Drugs site, which I had mentioned earlier:

The information on this website can help you learn about more affordable drug treatment options to discuss with your physician. We work with respected doctors and pharmacists to compare drugs and point you to those that are proven to work based on current scientific evidence. In concise, easy-to-read reports, we tell you what you ...

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Video games better than tranquilizers at keeping children calm before surgery, study finds
"Letting children play video games on a Game Boy in the operating room before undergoing surgery can help relax them better than tranquilizers or holding Mommy's hand, researchers say."

Pediatric studies seem much more interesting to design and conduct than studies in adult medicine.

Medical malpractice initiative gains steam
A case of dueling medical malpractice initiatives - with the lawyer-supported version winning.

How Chicago can amputate abuses in medical malpractice lawsuits
"Trial lawyers are quick to point out that only 18 percent of cases that go to court result in an award to the patient. But that observation ignores the fact that 85 percent of the cases are resolved by substantial monetary settlements out of court, which are every bit as costly to physicians and insurance companies as jury verdicts."

Good ...

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Tort reform would be a great new year's resolution
I would agree with this, but clearly there are many who feel that Tort reform isn't the answer. The debate continues.

Add an E to ABCD for Spotting Melanoma
"The ABCD memory-aid used to recognize early-stage melanoma should be expanded to include the letter E for "Evolving," researchers recommend.

This would emphasize that changes often occur in melanomas during the course of the disease, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The ABCD acronym -- standing for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variegation, and Diameter ...

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Drug Sales Visits Affect Doctors Little- U.S. Study
"The billions that drug companies spend on personal visits to promote new drugs and hand out free samples to doctors have little effect on how doctors prescribe drugs, according to a study published on Wednesday."

The "number needed to treat" so to speak, is 26 free samples to induce a physician to write one new prescription.

Sometimes, Doctors Find Answers Far Off the Charts
I like reading these cases from the NY Times. This time, the "doorknob diagnosis" leads to something more serious amiss.

Grand Rounds 11
Dr. Charles gives you the weekly best of the medical blogosphere.

Update:
Nick gives the upcoming hosting schedule.

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