Friday, July 23, 2010

FDA "Sting" Involving Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

Surprise, Surprise. An FDA undercover investigation, AKA "sting," has found that direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies have been generating misleading test results, and using misleading marketing tactics. The firms cited in the report include 23andMe, Pathway Genomics, DeCode Genetics and Navigenics. According to the NY Times article found here "four companies had sent the donors different results for the same sample and told donors they were at lower risk for getting diseases they already had, while two other companies suggested that a customer’s DNA could be used to create personalized supplements to cure diseases."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sandwich in a Can

Mark Kirkland of Salt Lake City, Utah, has developed the Candwich - sandwich in a can, to be released in August in a vending machine near you. Designed for soccer moms, people constantly on the go, or students who are just too darn lazy to put together two pieces of bread with meat or peanut butter. Sounds like an interesting idea, but in terms of practicality, I'd worry about the potential for foodborne illness. And taste. The notion of eating a 1 year old BBQ chicken sandwich in a can isn't the most appealing. Read more at MSNBC. And of course, the Candwich website. Yum!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Morbid Ink

"Tattoo artists have a popular saying within their profession: Love lasts forever but a tattoo lasts six months longer."  So does death, adds John Troyer, who will speak about "memorial tattoos" tonight at The Observatory in New York City.

Policing the Interwebs

A recent article in the NY Times talked about the day-to-day happenings and mental health implications of being an "internet content reviewer" - a job that involves screening and flagging some of the most vile content the internet has to offer. Here's the article.

Bipolar Bear?

Bipolar is no laughing matter.
So remember not to laugh when you download 'Bipolar Bear,' an application for your iPod, iPhone, or iPad. What does this application do? Bipolar Bear lives on your device, speaks to you, and is, well... moody. According to its creators, "comments made by the Bipolar Bear are sometimes upbeat and cheerful but sometimes frustrated and paranoid." Find out more about Bipolar Bear, here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Anxious like us

Americans are the most anxious people in the world, according to the World Health Organization.  Why?  Wisconsin Public Radio's "To the Best of our Knowledge" reports.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What to make of the FDA Avandia decision?

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports on the spin given to the decision by different media outlets, and gives us some guidance.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Carlat on NPR

To listen to Dr. Daniel Carlat talk about his new book, Unhinged, on "Fresh Air," click here.

Novartis announces Ritalin gummies

Impure injections

The FDA is cracking down on the Kreitchman Center at Columbia University, where government officials say that researchers where injecting mentally ill patients with tainted drugs and chemical tracers. Read more about it in the New York Times.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad tattoo? Help is on the way...

If you have a new iPhone and take Avandia, this has probably been a less than stellar couple of months. But, if you also have an unsightly lower back tattoo, things are looking up! Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chronic fatigue paper delay

There is an outcry from the chronic fatigue syndrome community regarding the delayed publication of an article that provides evidence of the link between the syndrome and a retrovirus. Click here to read more about it in the New York Times.

Crisis for the Crisis

The Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the leading AIDS social service organization in the US, is moving to a new (inconvenient) location due to an increase in rent. This has left many people infuriated, including activist Larry Kramer. Click here to read more about the uproar.

Would you work for this company?

"GSK has a history of adopting the most combative, scorched-earth positions possible in defense of its brands," writes Jim Edwards.  And here is the evidence

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rent a White Guy

How to become a fake businessman in Beijing, as reported by Mitch Moxley in The Atlantic.  All it takes is white skin and a good suit. 

GlaxoSmithKline hid Avandia data

For GlaxoSmithKline, it just gets worse and worse.  According to the New York Times, GSK tested Avandia against a competing drug in 1999.  But the study showed that Avandia performed worse and was riskier to the heart.  So GSK buried the data for 11 years and failed to post the study on a federal web site, as the law requires.  It makes you wonder what the GSK bioethics consultant is thinking.

University of Minnesota researcher illegally snoops in medical records

Yet another scandal at the University of Minnesota AHC.  Read about it in the Strib.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Guinea Pig Pros

Anthropologist Roberto Abadie spent a year living in youth hostels and group houses in Philadelphia, trying to understand why people volunteer to test the safety of new drugs for money. The result is his superb new book with Duke University Press, The Professional Guinea Pig.  The book is profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Yet another study links atypicals to large weight gains in children

Read about it here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Video Games Might Also Do This.

Dangerous blood clots linked to hours of sitting and playing...mah-jongg? NY Times reports.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Death blow to Avandia?

An FDA official has delivered a brutally critical review of Avandia, finding that GSK failed to count instances where Avandia was related to serious heart problems.  The review could mean the death of the controversial drug next week, when a panel of experts meets to decide whether Avandia should be withdrawn from the market.  Read more in the Times.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Food stamps for doctors

Danny Carlat reports.

J&J will disclose payments to doctors

Johnson and Johnson joins the growing list of drugmakers who post information about their payments to doctors.  But they don't make it easy.  Read more.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Surgery on demand?

"Patients used to read an article or two. Now, they’re actually seeing procedures on YouTube. Is this the future of medicine?  A radical treatment for MS goes viral.  Read more in the Times.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

What a Shocker.

Perhaps I'm in the wrong to say "well, duh!" to this, but is it really all that surprising that taking Viagra is associated with contracting various STDs? MSNBC/Reuters report on this study.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Altria Academic

The Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco recently sold her shares in Altria and then donated the money to the University. She would have done so earlier, but she just forgot. Click here to read more.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Your Lady Gaga eyes

Circle lenses will make your eyes look large and creepy, but are they safe?  Read all about it in the Times.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Restaurant industry says: "We need more drug lunches"

"It's a familiar story: a martini and some pan-seared salmon for lunch, and the next thing you know you've bought yourself a case of brand new implantable defibrillators that you didn't even know you needed."  Read more about drug reps and the restaurant industry in Salon.