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The Misuse Of A National Television Platform To Promote Health Information

In a highly-promoted appearance, legendary Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden went on ABC’s Good Morning America yesterday to announce that he had kept silent since 2007 about his diagnosis with prostate cancer.

First, let me say that I’ve always liked this guy. Funny. Charming. Coached teams that were fun to watch.

But that doesn’t make you an effective communicator on prostate cancer.

If you listen very carefully to the following clip (it took me 3 times watching the clip before I caught this), you’ll hear interviewer Robin Roberts rapidly mention that Bowden “is being compensated” for his appearance by “On the Line.”

On the Line” is sponsored by several entities including two drug companies that make prostate cancer drugs and by Project Zero – whose executive made news on this blog recently by writing that Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society “has killed more men by giving them an excuse to not be tested.”

You could probably find less conflicted sources Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

New Regulations To Be Placed On The Dietary Supplement Industry

A rumble of discontent is being heard across the dietary supplement industry since a draft guidance document was published last month by the US Food and Drug Administration. In response to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law in January by President Obama, the FDA was required to produce documents requiring dietary supplement and foods companies to submit safety information on any new dietary ingredient (NDI) placed into products after 1994.

The guidance document is open for comments from industry but, when issued, a final rule will require dietary supplement products to file a claim of a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) for any supplement component that was not part of the diet before 1994. What seems to be riling up the industry is that any change in supplement composition after 1994 will require filing of a NDI disclosure. That is, if you as a manufacturer add more DHA to your fish oil supplement, you have to file a NDI notification.

Stepping back, the goal of the FSMA makes perfect sense: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

ABC News Interviews Dr. Val About The ePatient Revolution

The Internet has revolutionized how we receive information -- and it’s also changing how we learn about and manage our health. A new “ePatient” movement promises to empower patients with online and mobile tools -- making it easier than ever to contact a physician, track health variables, and join a support group.

Four minutes isn’t much time to summarize an entire movement, and I think I got a little off topic while suggesting a new use case for David Hale’s NIH PillBox (a pill identifier tool). I said it could be used to identify pills even after your pet licked part of the label off them!

For more information about ePatients, check out my earlier blog post.

Dr. Val Reports Live From HIMSS To ABC News

HIMSS 2010 is the largest Health IT conference of the year. I spent the last 3 days interviewing exhibitors in Atlanta about what’s hot in healthcare. For this segment I Skyped in to ABC News in DC to discuss some of the most interesting gadgets that I discovered during my interview process. The segment was short, so I only had the chance to present 3 devices: the Panasonic Tough Book, the GE Vscan, and Radar Find’s RFID tags.

ABC’s Private Practice Takes On Teen Pregnancy

Last night, ABC’s Private Practice took on the very challenging issue of teenage pregnancy in a story arc that began with last week’s show when 15 year old Maya announced to Addison that she was pregnant. The show well depicts the shock, the emotion and the difficulty of handling the pro-choice/pro-life discussion when a teenager is at the center of the discussion.  It was a raw episode at times and in the end we are left with a 15 year old opting to keep her pregnancy.  It’s tempting to criticize the writers for not focusing enough on Maya but, in truth, the show was more realistic than you may realize.

In the episode, Maya’s mom, Naomi, basically freaks out from the start. This pro-life mom first storms out of the room then tries to force an abortion onto her daughter. When that doesn’t work, she shows Maya a woman in labor only to have Maya entranced by the sight of a baby and determined to keep the pregnancy even more. The show concludes with Naomi leaving the building not talking to anyone, in tears. True to life? You bet. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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