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Will Doctors Actually Change Their Recommendations Given The New Cancer Screening Guidelines?

Cancer. Just the word is scary. Actually, that’s the problem. Once you say that word, the average American will do anything — ANYTHING! — to just get it out of my body!!! Whether or not they have it, whatever the actual numerical chances of their ever developing it, no chance for detecting or treating it should ever be neglected. EVER! Ask any Med-mal lawyer. Better, ask any twelve average people off the street (i.e., the ones who are going to wind up on a jury). “The doctor didn’t do every possible test/procedure, and now the patient has CANCER? String him up!”

Hence we have the new guidelines for PSA testing. (Given that many patients with prostate cancer have normal PSAs and lots of patients with high PSAs don’t have prostate cancer, it doesn’t seem semantically correct to call it “prostate cancer screening”.) Surprise! Turns out that not only does PSA testing not save lives, but that urologists don’t really care. Certainly not enough to stop recommending PSAs to just about everyone they can get their hands on.

Nor do breast surgeons have any intention of modifying their recommendations, not only in light of new understandings of the limitations of mammography, but even as Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*

Google’s Approach To Serious Health Searches

Now that Google has become a near-universal information provider for many people, it’s finding itself answering questions that need a little more of a nuanced approach.

Apparently prodded by a mother who was looking for poison control contacts in an emergency, Google is now providing relevant phone numbers at the top of search results for a few specific queries. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Classic Smoking Cessation Study Suggests You Can Save A Life For $2000

Every now and again I like to pick one of the classic research studies on smoking cessation in order to highlight some of the key findings. Today I’m going to focus on the part of the Lung Health Study.

The Lung Health Study is certainly one of the best smoking cessation studies ever carried out, partly because of the comprehensive nature of the assessment and follow-up of its 5,887 participants and partly because it was way ahead of its time in delivering a truly “state-of-the-art” intensive smoking cessation intervention which was compared in a randomized manner to the effects of “usual care”. The Lung Health Study (LHS) was a randomized clinical trial of smoking cessation and inhaled bronchodilator therapy in smokers 35 to 60 years of age who did not consider themselves ill but had evidence of mild to moderate airway obstruction. Read more »

This post, Classic Smoking Cessation Study Suggests You Can Save A Life For $2000, was originally published on by Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D..

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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