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Latest Posts

Medtronic’s INFUSE Product Confirmed To Do More Harm Than Good

The Spine Journal has published a special June issue focusing on Medtronic’s INFUSE product, or rhBMP-2, a bone growth product commonly used in spine fusion surgeries. A journal news release states:

A critical review of 13 industry-sponsored studies on a spine surgery product found that the actual risk of adverse events was 10 to 50 times the estimates originally reported. The product in question is recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), a controversial synthetic bone growth factor often used as a bone graft substitute in spine fusion surgeries. This eye-opening study, “A critical review of rhBMP-2 trials in spinal surgery: emerging safety concerns and lessons learned” is included in a special BMP-focused issue of The Spine Journal.

The comprehensive review found four main areas of concern among the 13 original industry-sponsored studies:

• Conflicts of interest were either not reported or were unclear in each study. Read more »

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

Spinal Fusion Device: “From Revolutionary Advance To Public Health Alert”

There are many stories journalists could report on about conflicts of interest and questions about evidence in the treatment of low back pain, perhaps especially with spinal fusion. We talked about many of these with journalists from the American Society of News Editors in a workshop at the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making in Boston in May.

John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hammers one of these issues, looking at how Medtronic’s Infuse product “went from revolutionary advance to public health alert.”

Here’s his story on MedPageToday: “Spinal Fusion Device: A Bone of Contention for FDA.” 

His entire series entitled “Side Effects: Money, Medicine and Patients” is indexed on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website. The image below is from the Journal-Sentinel’s online story:


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

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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