Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Predicting Menopause

Doctors in Iran have developed a new blood test to predict when menopause will happen. The Guardian reports.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Surrogacy on the Cheap

The NY Times recently reviewed a documentary entitled "Google Babies" which examined the fertility industry reaching from the United States to India.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Can I have seconds, please?

Most surgeons still love those pharma lunches, says a new survey.  The gifts too.  Any kind of marketing, actually.  Read more at Pharmalot.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's wrong with medical ghostwriting?

The journal Bioethics has three new articles on the ethics of medical ghostwriting in the most recent issue, which can be found here. Danny Carlat comments on the Carlat Psychiatry Blog.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Going Green = Bad for You?

Despite being environmentally friendly, this article talks about the hazards associated with using reusable bags when shopping.

Industry ties to CME credits under scrutiny

Should CME courses cease to be financially supported by medical industry money? Click here to read about the latest goings on in the tussle between medical schools, drug and device companies and medical associations.

Assisted Suicide in Germany

Germany’s highest court recently ruled that it is not a criminal offense to end life-sustaining treatment for a patient. This ruling is at a time where increased attention is being paid to the assisted suicide debate in Europe. Click here to read the article in the NY Times.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Foreign trials for US drugs

...according to a report by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, 80 percent of the drugs approved for sale in 2008 had trials in foreign countries.

Click here to read more about the report that is to be released tomorrow.

Heart Healthy

An article in the NY Times discusses the new wave of heart devices that transmit information to medical providers, and the good and the bad that can come with these gadgets.

ODing on the Purple Pill

Slate Magazine talks about the overuse of the heartburn medicine Nexium, particularly in younger kids.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Socially conscious medicine, or greedy and self-interested?

Which medical schools produce the least socially conscious doctors?  Vanderbilt, UT Southwestern and Northwestern,  according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  Traditionally black medical schools such as Morehhouse, Meharry and Howard have the best scores.  Read about it here

Device Dispute

Who is at fault: the surgeons or the medical device company? The issues of money and influence in medical device surgeries are discussed in the NY Times. Click here for to read the article.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Medical Flops

What was the biggest medical failure of the past decade?  Zelnorm?  Vioxx?  Xigris?  See this Forbes slideshow.

FDA votes down "female Viagra"

Read about it at Pharmalot.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Medtronic shipment of human heads seized by Arkansas officials

Officials in Arkansas are investigating a shipment of 40 to 60 human heads found by Southwest Airlines employees at a cargo facility last week in Little Rock.  Read all about it here.

A new, gay anti-smoking campaign

The CDC has launched a new, highly effective anti-smoking campaign. Click here to learn more.

More on the NIH conflict of interest scandal

Bernard Carroll, Charles Nemeroff's former department chair, comments on the Nemeroff-Insel scandal at Health Care Renewal.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Desperate Measures in Desperate Times

An unemployed and uninsured Michigan woman shot herself in the shoulder with the hopes that she would receive free medical care in the ER for a previous shoulder injury. Unsurprisingly, her plan failed and she may be in a little legal trouble now as well. CBS News reports.

Should the NIH ask Tom Insel to step down from its conflict of interest committee?

Cast your vote at Pharmalot.

Monday, June 14, 2010

POGO says Insel should resign

The Project on Government Oversight says the director of the NIH.should be fired.  Read more here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An added feature: Disease

This is why I don't touch items in stores and why I always have hand sanitizer at the ready. Yes, I am one of 'those people.'

Fight over paper comes to an end...for now

A three-year publication battle is coming to an end in the psychology community. The source of controversy: the critique of a scale used to assess whether or not a person is a psychopath and capable of violent acts. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

World's Heaviest...By Choice.

A 42 year old New Jersey mother of two has a hefty goal: to tip the scales at 1,000 lbs., and thus become the world's heaviest living woman. Yikes! Check this story out on MSNBC.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010

Cancer Villages

Interesting article from The Guardian about "cancer villages" in China - places where the priority is economic gain, not public health.

Medical experimentation on detainees?

Watch the video here.

The NIH gets tough on ethics? Not likely.

In public, NIH director Tom Insel has come down hard on conflicts of interest. In private, he has been working behind the scenes to help a major violator, Charles Nemeroff, find a new plum position at the University of Miami, assuring Miami that the NIH is behind him. The story is reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The incriminating emails can be seen here, along with commentary by Ed Silverman of Pharmalot.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Not reading the signs

Since 2005, thousands of echocardiograms have gone unread by doctors at the Harlem Hospital Center. An ongoing investigation is looking into what exactly went wrong, and who may have been denied necessary care at the hospital. Click here to read more.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Glucose Tattoos

Researchers at MIT are developing a "glucose tattoo" - a continuous blood sugar monitor that makes use of fluorescent carbon nanotubes (in the form of nanoparticle ink) placed under the skin to reflect infrared light back through the skin and to the monitor. They say the monitor itself will be watch-sized or smaller and could eliminate the need for daily finger pricking that many diabetics have to do. Check out the article here.

Social Media to Kick Smoking

I live about 7 miles away from Philip Morris USA's corporate headquarters at the moment. Needless to say, smoking seems to be a rather popular pastime around here. Here is a CNN link on using social media / web-based smoking cessation programs. Richmond could definitely use a few of them.

Shocked but not urinating

The Strib pimps a weird new treatment for overactive bladder in this article, which reads like a press release for a local company called Uroplasty Inc. Apparently if you attach electrodes to your leg every week for three months at $25o a pop, you will have to pee less often. Read the electrifying news here.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Binge drinking is good for you

Good Old Dr. Wakefield.

Autism extraordinaire Andrew Wakefield tried to link the MMR vaccine to Crohn's Disease before his theory tying autism to that same vaccine. Check out this article from Slate.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep...

Why are American soldiers trying to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan while the pharmaceutical industry is paying farmers to produce it? Read here.

Hijacked Research

A friend of mine, Dr. Gary Remafedi, has recently been the subject of malign efforts by an anti-gay group who have incorrectly referenced his research for their agenda. Click here to read more.

Are blockbusters dead?

"How bad is big pharma doing? It's been four years since anybody has launched a mass-market medicine." Read more from Matthew Herper at

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Should the Nigerian Trovan lawsuit against Pfizer proceed?

The U.S. Solicitor General says yes. Read more at Pharmalot.

Dieting for Dollars

More employers are offering financial incentives to their workers to lose weight. MSNBC reports.

Not Another Weight Loss Show

Greetings from Richmond, VA, where I am living/working this summer. Here is an article about this new NBC show called "Losing It" which is hosted by Jillian Michaels, who was also involved with "The Biggest Loser." I haven't seen it yet, so all I can say is Yikes!

Nothing to disclose at the APA

"New Orleans. It was 95 degrees with 99 percent humidity. The Gulf had the biggest oil spill in US history. And attendees to this week's American Psychiatric Convention (APA) annual meeting in New Orleans had to brave 200 protesters chanting 'no drugging kids for money' and 'no conflicts of interest' to get into the convention hall."

Martha Rosenberg reports on the annual APA meeting. And Daniel Carlat comments here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hastings Center Report call for papers

"To mark the fortieth anniversary of the Hastings Center Report, we are looking forward. Rather than commemorate the issues and authors that the Report has published in the past, we want to know from you what issues bioethics should be looking at in the future!"

Gregory E. Kaebnick, editor of the Hastings Center Report, is looking to the next generation for these answers. "We'll throw the doors open: we'll read anything that any student, graduate fellow, or untenured professor in bioethics sends us (current or former Center staff excluded), and we'll publish the best of the lot in the November-December 2010 issue."

Read more here.

Conference: The Role of Narrative in Science and Medicine

"Hiram College's Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities celebrates its 20th anniversary and its founders, Dr. Carol Donley and Dr. Martin Kohn. Join us for two days of discussion, writing workshops, entertainment, and lectures from Rita Charon, Richard Preston and more." Read more here.

But will they FedEx your pizza?

Are telemarketers the new drug reps? Maybe so, says Astra Zeneca.

What did they know and when did they know it?

Physicians at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health authored papers showing that the Sanofi-Aventis drug Multaq is an excellent treatment for atrial fibrillation. Now, however, it appears that Multaq may be dangerous, and the authors apparently never saw the raw data that they vouched for. They did get large checks from Sanofi-Aventis, though. Read more in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.