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Several Media Outlets Overhype Very Early Stem Cell Research

Journalist Larry Husten, on his Cardiobrief blog, writes, “Hype Aside, Hope for Stem Cell Therapy May Be Emerging From Hibernation.

It was one of the only notes of caution we saw in our limited sampling of news stories about an analysis of an experimental stem cell intervention in 14 people – only 8 of whom were followed for a year. Husten wrote:

“Two small studies of cardiac stem cells for the treatment of heart failure have shown promise, but ABC News, CBS News and other media outlets are throwing around words like “medical breakthrough” and “heart failure cure.” ABC News correspondent Richard Besser was so enthusiastic that anchor Diane Sawyer commented that she had never seen him “so excited.” The first author of one of the studies, Roberto Bolli, said the work could represent “the biggest advance in cardiology in my lifetime.”

The reality may be somewhat more prosaic.” Read more »

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

MSNBC Promotes Treatment For Condition Plastic Surgeon Named

MSNBC commits an egregious example of disease-mongering in a piece they headlined:

Plastic surgeon wants to fix your ‘runner’s face’.

What is so egregious? Let us count the ways:

• They pass along a plastic surgeon’s news release about his treatment for a condition he calls “runner’s face”.
• So it is a promotion for his treatment for a condition he has named. This is what is called “advertising” – not “journalism.”
• They provide no data.
• They describe Read more »

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

EMR News From Australia Creates Enthusiasm In The E-Patient Movement

Big news from Down Under: the Sydney Morning Herald reports that a group of fifty consumer health advocates has unanimously backed an “opt-out” process for enrollment in electronic health records, reversing their previous position.

The issue is whether by default all patients have an EHR. “Opt-out” means you’re in by default – your records will be stored electronically – and you can opt out if you want. “Opt-in” means you do not have an EHR unless you specifically ask for one.

The group, the Consumer Health Forum, cites evidence from the neighboring country of New Zealand, in which Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at e-Patients.net*

Canadians Warned To Protect Themselves Against Unvaccinated Californians?

whooping-coughThe Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a “travel health notice” to its citizens who plan to travel to California. Childhood vaccination against whooping cough (pertussis) has dropped low enough to result in a 7-fold increase in the number of infections over the past year alone.

An increasing number of parents are opting out of vaccines, a trend that could threaten to reverse the preventive health gains we’ve made against certain infectious diseases this past century. How scary is that?

Incidentally, whooping cough can be lethal — killing a small percentage of kids who suffocate from the damage it does to the respiratory tract. For more information about whooping cough, I recommend the Mayo Clinic’s consumer health website.

To all the moms and dads out there, please vaccinate your kids. The benefits far outweigh any potential harms. And to you Canadians, make sure you’re vaccinated before you go to California.

Medical Societies Hoard Research Results For Their Financial Gain

By Robert Stern, M.A.

Almost a decade ago, I had a simple idea — deliver fast, accurate medical news to clinicians in a format that was easily accessible, and turn that news into a “teachable moment.” Almost five years ago, that idea became reality with the launch of MedPage Today.

Monday through Friday (and if news is happening, Saturday and Sunday, too), MedPage Today delivers on our promise of “Putting Breaking Medical News into Practice.”

Our reporters and editors not only scan prepublication copies of top medical journals seeking medical news that is likely to influence daily clinical practice, but also travel worldwide to report medical news delivered at scientific meetings.

These gatherings are important as a primary source of medical information. New medical information, or as we call it: News. Read more »

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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