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Problem In Health News Stories: Therapeutic Misconception

A story in the San Diego Union-Tribune describes testing of “an experimental therapeutic filtering device being developed.”

Think about it. It hasn’t been proven therapeutic yet if it’s still experimental.

Lawyers use a term, “therapeutic misconception,” which is important for everyone to know about and think about. It refers to study participants perhaps having the misconception that the purpose of the trial is, indeed, therapeutic – when that hasn’t been established yet.

I see news stories commit this error all the time. Read more »

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

Cartoon Shows A Common Misconception About The “E-Patient”

An SPM member emailed this, with the playful subject line “A New e-Patient”:

© Copyright 2011 King Features Syndicate. All Rights Reserved.

(Click the image to go to the high-res on the comic’s site; © Copyright 2011 King Features Syndicate, all rights reserved.)

Funny comic, but it’s a common misconception that “e-patient” = anyone who googles (or bings, or webmd’s, or…). Wrong. E-patients are empowered, engaged, educated etc – not mindless, and not likely to freak out at the first thing they read.

When you search Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Medical Mythbuster: Mold in Saline Breast Implants

I read online a woman telling about how her saline breast implants got mold and she had terrible problems. Does this happen very often?

A few years ago I put up a YouTube video of my experience with silicone gel breast implants. Now every six months to a year somebody posts a comment about how saline implants are just as dangerous. A frequent portion of that response is a statement about a moldy saline implant. My response is and always has been, if saline implants are so often affected by mold, then why have I never seen it?

I have been implanting (and at times removing) breast implants for over 15 years. You would think if something was a dangerous and common phenomenon that I would be seeing it. I haven’t. Not even once.

A saline implant when left on a table outside of your body can develop mold, but this doesn’t seem to happen inside patients. The difference is probably that when implants are properly placed inside a woman’s breasts, her immune system helps protect them from such problems. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

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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