Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two More Blockbusters Fall Short - NYT

Two More Blockbusters Fall Short - Editorial -

The newer drugs for treating schizophrenia have come under such a cloud in recent years that it’s no surprise to learn of another setback: they work no better than an older, less expensive drug in children and adolescents for whom they are heavily prescribed.

It is another disturbing example of how aggressive marketing can propel drugs to blockbuster sales even though they are no more effective, and possibly more risky, than older versions.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

For Widely Used Drug, Question of Usefulness Lingers

The Evidence Gap: For Widely Used Drug, Question of Usefulness Lingers

Doctors heavily prescribe Zetia and Vytorin, though there is no proof that the cholesterol drugs help to prolong life or prevent heart attacks.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Vitamin E supplements increase risk of lung cancer

Vitamin E supplements increase risk of lung cancer | Guardian

People who take daily supplements of vitamin E have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, according to one of the largest studies into vitamins and health ever attempted.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Medication 'worsens Alzheimer's'

Medication 'worsens Alzheimer's'

Anti-psychotic drugs commonly given to Alzheimer's patients often worsens their condition, a study suggests.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Journal Faulted in Publishing Korean’s Claims - NYT

Journal Faulted in Publishing Korean’s Claims - New York Times

Fraudulent stem cell reports that shook the scientific world could have been prevented by extra review procedures, according to a panel appointed by Science, the journal that published the claims.


The fraud came to light not through any of the formal checking procedures in the scientific process, but because a whistle-blower in Dr. Hwang’s lab spoke to the South Korean television station MBC.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Proof Is Scant on Psychiatric Drug Mix for Young - NYT

A report in the New York Times on the efficacy of mixed medication for behavioural and other similar disorders in children:

Proof Is Scant on Psychiatric Drug Mix for Young - New York Times


The use of two-medicine combinations in children is on much shakier ground. Even for single drugs, the effectiveness of some psychiatric medications in younger patients is questionable: most trials of antidepressants in depressed children, for instance, fail to show any beneficial effect. But hardly any studies have examined the safety or the effectiveness of medicine combinations in children. A 2003 review in The American Journal of Psychiatry found only six controlled trials of two-drug combinations. Four of the six failed to show any benefit; in a fifth, the improvement was offset by greater side effects.

“No one has been able to show that the benefits of these combinations outweigh the risks in children,” said Dr. Daniel J. Safer, an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and an author of the 2003 review.

If the evidence for two-drug combinations is minimal, for three-drug combinations it is nonexistent, several top experts said.

“The data is zip,” Dr. Hyman said.


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Monday, November 13, 2006

NYT: What's wrong with a child?

The New York Times runs through the litany of diagnoses offered by the establishment on what ails the children, offering an example:

Paul was a gifted reader, curious, independent. But in fourth grade, after a screaming match with a school counselor, he walked out of the building and disappeared, riding the F train for most of the night through Brooklyn, alone, while his family searched frantically.

It was the second time in two years that he had disappeared for the night, and his mother was determined to find some answers, some guidance.

What followed was a string of office visits with psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists. Each had an idea about what was wrong, and a specific diagnosis: “Compulsive tendencies,” one said. “Oppositional defiant disorder,” another concluded. Others said “pervasive developmental disorder,” or some combination.

Each diagnosis was accompanied by a different regimen of drug treatments.

By the time the boy turned 11, Ms. Williams said, the medical record had taken still another turn — to bipolar disorder — and with it a whole new set of drug prescriptions.
The reason for this bizarre series of explanations and definitions? If it can't be the science, it has to be ... the child!

Psychiatrists have no blood tests or brain scans to diagnose mental disorders. [...] And unlike most adults, young children are often unable or unwilling to talk about their symptoms, leaving doctors to rely on observation and information from parents and teachers.
The solution? We need more professionals, of course!

The confusion is due in part to the patchwork nature of the health care system, experts say. Child psychiatrists are in desperately short supply, and family doctors, pediatricians, psychologists and social workers, each with their own biases, routinely hand out diagnoses.

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