Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Depressed toddlers?

From BNET Pharma: "The New York Times Magazine crowned Dr. Joan Luby as the queen of preschool depression this weekend, but failed to mention that Luby has taken cash from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Shire (SHPGY) and AstraZeneca (AZN) to study using atypical antipsychotics in young children."

Read it here. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pura Vida, Señor Limbaugh

I spent the last few weeks in Costa Rica and one of the things that I learned was that the people there were quite flattered to learn that talk show host Rush Limbaugh has put their nation at the top of his list for medical care. It'll surely be a nice revenue boost for them, as Limbaugh's health hasn't been the very best in recent years. It is interesting (and ironic too), considering that Costa Rica's health system is government-run and everyone is guaranteed medical services, which clearly clashes with his position on "ObamaCare" in the States. The Costa Rica News recently covered this revelation. Check it out here.

Ahh, well, as they say over there, Pura Vida!

Kevin MD on White Coat, Black Hat

An excerpt from White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine, appears on the KevinMD.com blog.  Read it here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

CAFE study author replies

Jeffrey Lieberman, the principal investigator for the CAFE study in which Dan Markingson died, defends the questionable dosing choices in the study on the Carlat Psychiatry Blog.  See Carlat's summary, plus comments by Dr. Bernard Carroll and me, here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Even Toddlers Get The Blues

Researchers are currently investigating early-onset depression (and I mean really early onset) amongst preschool-aged children. What does preschool depression sound like? A young child named Kiran, when brought to Disney World, stated: “Mickey lies. Dreams don’t come true." Read more about diagnosing depression in preschoolers in this upcoming Sunday's New York Times Magazine. The online article is available here.

(Illustration taken from the article mentioned above.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Making a Killing" in Mother Jones

Dr. Bernard Carroll has coined the term "experimercial" for clinical studies that a company has designed not for scientific purposes, but to create positive publicity for a product in a particular market niche.  What happens when subjects die in these studies?  Nothing. 

My article on the death of Dan Markingson in a Seroquel experimercial appears in the September issue of Mother Jones.  You can read the article online here.

Addendum: additional posts on this at the NY Times "Prescriptions" Blog, MinnPost, Psychology Today, Pharmalot, and the Carlat Psychiatry Blog.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

FDA narrowly approves Eli Lilly to market Cymbalta for chronic pain

Remember the "depression hurts, but you don’t have to" commercials that got Lilly into trouble a few years back? They might be making a return to a television near you. Click here to read more in the NY Times.

Photo credit: J.B. Reed/Bloomberg News

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Malaria - It's Music to your Ears

Youssou N'Dour of Senegal has been making waves with his hit song, "Xeex Sibbiru." The song translates to "Fight Malaria" in Wolof, and is now being used as one of the anti-malaria education campaigns by the nonprofit organization Malaria No More. So far, it seems to be making somewhat of a dent, but of course there is a long way to go. Read more here.

MacStatin with cheese

McDonald's could counteract the heart risk of its burgers and shakes by handing out statin packets long with ketchup and mustard, say researchers at Imperial College London.  Their suggested catchphrase: "I'm neutralizin' it."  The story is here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The New York Times blows it

HealthNewsReview gives poor marks to the New York Times for its front-page PR job supporting a new test for Alzheimer's Disease.  (The Times reporter: Gina Kolata, yet again.).  Read about it here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet, it's NDM-1!

NDM-1 has gained notoriety recently as a newly discovered genetic mutation that enhances antibiotic resistance among various bacteria, including E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. It is said to have originated in healthcare settings in South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. Apparently now it has made its merry way to England and the USA and medical tourism is being blamed for what scientists consider to be the next big "superbug," a la MRSA. Check out this article in the NY Times.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beyond filling prescriptions

Pharmacists and pharmacies are now taking on a larger role than before: assisting patients in improving/maintaining their health statuses beyond the use of pills. Click here to read more.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DNA on a stick

University of Minnesota researchers will be giving kids ride tickets and backpacks in exchange for agreeing to a genetic test at the State Fair.  The Strib reports.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

University of Minnesota quietly sneaks out its new COI policy

It's August, and everyone is on vacation, which means it is perfect timing for the University of Minnesota to publish the conflict-of-interest policy it has been working on for three years.  Last week the Strib reported on the policy (in an article which read like a press release from the university PR office,) but now the policy is getting some fair criticism.  Pharmalot reports here.

New Medical Device Study

A new study by Prof. Ralph Hall at the University of Minnesota Law School has found that additional testing on medical devices in humans may not prevent future product recalls. Click here to read more in the Star Tribune.