What is wrong with medical research? Boston health writers raise important questions

Do we need evidence-based evidence? How effective is our medical research system? What are we getting for the $30 billion that goes into university and hospital labs? Here are a couple of stories from local writers with some discouraging answers to those questions. Carolyn Johnson's piece on poor quality of medical research was tucked under the … Continue reading What is wrong with medical research? Boston health writers raise important questions

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New Yorker: Former NEJM editor dismisses placebo claims

Arnold Relman writes in this week's New Yorker.  He argues that researchers claiming placebos can cure are driven by "substantial financial support for their anti-establishment views"  from NIH and private donors. From the letter's page: There is simply no evidence that physical diseases, such as cancer,  atherosclerosis, or organ disorders, can be cured or measurably improved by  placebos. Experienced … Continue reading New Yorker: Former NEJM editor dismisses placebo claims

Understanding science news: Infectious disease edition

  A Harvard student group holds monthly seminars to explain complex scientific topics to the public. They usually fill an auditorium and they always videotape their presentations. Check out “Science in the News” here. The session on dog science didn’t have much of a news hook, but their current “Flash” newsletter does. As a nod … Continue reading Understanding science news: Infectious disease edition

Globe:More transparency needed from Harvard on misconduct

In a staff editorial, The Globe calls on Harvard to offer more information about the scientific misdeeds of  one of its star psychology researchers. For more on the case and other local news on scientific misconduct, click here for Nature Network Boston post.   THERE’S CLEARLY something wrong with some of Harvard psychology professor Marc Hauser’s … Continue reading Globe:More transparency needed from Harvard on misconduct

Lots of New England in the NE Journal of Medicine

The latest NEJM includes lot of New Englanders: Researchers from Harvard asked – What motivates “whistleblowers” who report health care fraud? This study identified several commonalities in whistle-blowers' experiences. Generally, whistle-blowers' first move was to try to address problems internally; they became litigators either accidentally (while pursuing other claims) or as a last resort. The … Continue reading Lots of New England in the NE Journal of Medicine

Tufts doc warns of industry influence on health reform

The pharma watchdogs at Gooz News point out that:  The latest New England Journal of Medicine contains a scathing perspective denouncing the Senate's health care reform bill for giving industry too much control over a new comparative effectiveness research (CER) agency, an issue I tried to call attention to in Health Tech Review (Sept. 28, … Continue reading Tufts doc warns of industry influence on health reform

Academics, industry, health reform and medical devices

The NYTimes business section has an update on academic/industry partnerships and explains new transparency rules in the Senate reform bill. Massachusetts has had a state law on this but it's only been in effect for a few months. A group of doctors who oppose the law held a meeting in Boston this summer. Also, read on and … Continue reading Academics, industry, health reform and medical devices