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'Eye Opening': Chatbot Outperforms Ophthalmologists | MedPage Today

The ChatGPT chatbot powered by GPT-4 scored better than the panelists on measures of diagnostic and treatment accuracy when it analyzed 20 real-life cases and considered 20 possible patient questions, reported Andy S. Huang, MD, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues in JAMA Ophthalmology opens in a new tab or window .

Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses - Jefferson, T - 2023 | Cochrane Library

The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection.

Opinion | The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned? - The New York Times

But when it comes to the population-level benefits of masking, the verdict is in: Mask mandates were a bust. Those skeptics who were furiously mocked as cranks and occasionally censored as “misinformers” for opposing mandates were right. The mainstream experts and pundits who supported mandates were wrong. In a better world, it would behoove the latter group to acknowledge their error, along with its considerable physical, psychological, pedagogical and political costs.

Hospital Bills Inflated by Surgeons Double Booking - Bloomberg

The University of Southern California’s hospital system is accused of billing for thousands of cases - costing taxpayers “hundreds of millions of dollars” - where the teaching physician left residents unattended to perform even spine and brain surgeries. When one doctor confronted a department head about an “embarrassingly high” rate of surgical injuries at one of its facilities, the administrator responded, according to the lawsuit: “Well, that’s where the residents go to practice on the poor folks.”

Doctors watching pharma TV ads in ‘blue jeans moments’ often search to find out more, Roku survey says – Endpoints News

More than two-thirds (67%) of physi­cians said they re­searched a prod­uct af­ter see­ing a phar­ma ad while watch­ing TV.

Is Doctor Pay Too High? NIH Pulls Plug on Misinfo Research; FDA and EPA Butt Heads | MedPage Today

Previous NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, publicly proposed the project idea in 2021, saying, "We basically have seen the accurate medical information overtaken, all too often, by the inaccurate conspiracies and false information on social media," and "I do think we need to understand better how -- in the current climate -- people make decisions."

America’s Love Affair with Adderall | The Free Press

Each maintained their childhood prescriptions throughout high school and college, and into their professional lives. Each had a wake-up call that prompted them to get off the drug. For Sloan Tate, it was realizing she lacked the emotional capacity to mourn when her grandmother died. Alex Cosec, a 32-year-old guitar player, real estate photographer, and fitness coach from Minneapolis, told me he decided to join Narcotics Anonymous after his ex-girlfriend called the cops on him when he took too much Adderall, among other substances, and began throwing things in their apartment.  “I’m the Adderall addict,” Cat Marnell told me. She has a claim to the title. At one point she was taking 120 milligrams of Adderall a day (60 milligrams is a high prescription dose). She wrote a book about it. She’s been in rehab for Adderall five times. Marnell was prescribed Adderall at 19 after being on Ritalin for most of her life. Adderall was different for Marnell. “Adderall was much more of a narcotic experience, and so at age 19 that was very appealing to me to be flying high from it. And that very swiftly turned into sleepless nights, dependency, obsession, a celebration of it. I was absolutely in love with Adderall,” she told me.

America’s Love Affair with Adderall | The Free Press

Many TikTok videos list ways to get an Adderall prescription online and how to self-diagnose ADHD (three symptoms cited by the CDC include being “easily distracted,” acting as if “driven by a motor,” and having “trouble organizing tasks and activities”). Studies have found that watching TikTok increases self-diagnosis for ADHD. The hashtag #ADHD has 14 billion views, and #ADHDdiagnosis has 46.1 million views.  Last year the company Cerebral, which provides online therapy and medication, was the third largest advertiser on TikTok after Amazon and HBO. After filling out a questionnaire, followed by a 30-minute video call with a “licensed prescriber,” Cerebral can provide an ADHD diagnosis and prescription for medication.

America’s Love Affair with Adderall | The Free Press

Over the past few months, however, things have changed. James has been waking up around 1:00 p.m. “I don’t really ever start my day,” he says. He has to make to-do lists to keep himself on track and to remember basic chores like laundry and homework. The cause is the nationwide shortage of Adderall, which the FDA declared about eight months ago. Without his daily pills, James is unraveling: “I no longer have the self-motivating chemicals to go outside,” he told me. “I’m definitely feeling really down.”

RCT-DUPLICATE findings demonstrate capabilit | EurekAlert!

The results show that in about half of the cases where researchers were able to closely mimic the design of the corresponding RCT using RWD, the RWE study came to a similar conclusion as the analogous RCT. In many cases where RWE and RCTs did not come to a similar conclusion, the RCT design itself did not align with real-world clinical practice, creating a challenge for emulation of the trial using RWD. In these instances, RWE and RCTs may both be reaching meaningful conclusions, but to subtly different research questions.

Exercise Is Even More Effective Than Counselling or Medication for Depression - Neuroscience News

When comparing the size of the benefits of exercise to other common treatments for mental health conditions from previous systematic reviews, our findings suggest exercise is around 1.5 times more effective than either medication or cognitive behaviour therapy.

FDA vaccine advisers 'disappointed' and 'angry' that early data about new Covid-19 booster shot wasn't presented for review last year | CNN

It found that 1.9% of the study participants who received the original booster became infected. Among those who got the updated bivalent vaccine – the one that scientists hoped would work better – a higher percentage, 3.2%, became infected. Both versions of the shot were found to be safe. This infection data was far from complete. The number of study subjects who became infected was very small, and both the patients and the researchers were aware of who was getting the original shot and who was getting the new booster. Despite these imperfections, the data was included in a preprint study that was posted online in June, again in September in an FDA document and then later that month in a top medical journal – and advisers to the FDA and the CDC said the data should have been shared with them, too.

FDA vaccine advisers 'disappointed' and 'angry' that early data about new Covid-19 booster shot wasn't presented for review last year | CNN

“I was angry to find out that there was data that was relevant to our decision that we didn’t get to see,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a group of external advisers that helps the FDA make vaccine decisions. “Decisions that are made for the public have to be made based on all available information – not just some information, but all information.”

How Some Parents Changed Their Politics in the Pandemic - The New York Times

Ms. Longnecker and her fellow objectors are part of a potentially destabilizing new movement: parents who joined the anti-vaccine and anti-mask cause during the pandemic, narrowing their political beliefs to a single-minded obsession over those issues. Their thinking hardened even as Covid-19 restrictions and mandates were eased and lifted, cementing in some cases into a skepticism of all vaccines. Nearly half of Americans oppose masking and a similar share is against vaccine mandates for schoolchildren, polls show. But what is obscured in those numbers is the intensity with which some parents have embraced these views. While they once described themselves as Republicans or Democrats, they now identify as independents who plan to vote based solely on vaccine policies.

Why are antidepressants so overprescribed? And what to do about it? - HealthSense

Withdrawal symptoms are most likely to occur when medications are stopped abruptly, after prolonged use, and at higher doses. Withdrawal can be very unpleasant and scary, causing lethargy, sadness, anxiety, irritability, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, nightmares, ’flu symptoms, nausea, dizziness, and strange sensations. They can also go on for a long time. Twenty-five per cent of users are still experiencing some symptoms after 3 months, and for some withdrawal can last 6 months.(4) Withdrawal occurs when doctors fail to deprescribe slowly enough or patients stop on their own. Partly because of the widespread misconception that antidepressants don't cause withdrawal, patients and doctors routinely misinterpret the symptoms as relapse – triggering what is often unneeded long term treatment.

BMJ fights back against Facebook fact-checkers - The Post

Despite being fully evidenced and error-free, Lead Stories, a company that conducts around half of all fact-checking on Facebook, said the article was “missing context” and stated that a whistle-blower at the heart of the investigation failed to “express unreserved support for covid vaccines”. The fact-checking company later commented that it was concerned about who was sharing the article online. In other words, the documentation of research and investigation in some areas is not permitted if it risks causing the infantilised public to stray from their designated path.

Matt Taibbi’s TK News Joins the List of Media Outlets Alarmed at Facebook Censorship

Then I went to the “fact check,” and it was just insane. It looked like it’d been written by high school students. It describes the British Medical Journal as a “blog.” I was joking with my editors about how they work. They pick some proposition out of the blue and then they debunk it, and it’s like, “Aha, win!” Bullshit. It’s like, “Did the BMJ prove that the vaccine kills Martians? No! Fact check: wrong.” And you’re thinking, “Wait, what?” Here’s what they do. They’re not fact checking facts. What they’re doing is checking narratives. They can’t say that your facts are wrong, so it’s like, “Aha, there’s no context.” Or, “It’s misleading.” But that’s not a fact check. You just don’t like the story.

Key opinion leaders — a critical perspective | Nature Reviews Rheumatology

By the mid-1950s, Lazarsfeld’s group had extended their argument into medicine, through a study contracted by Pfizer about the factors that influenced doctors in the USA to adopt a new drug. In this landmark study5, the authors asked the fundamental question that continues to drive every pharmaceutical marketing operation to this day: “What were the social processes that intervened between the initial trials of the drug by a few local innovators and its final use by virtually the whole medical community?” The simple answer: the implementation of a new drug is all about promoting and expanding “the effectiveness of interpersonal relations at each stage of the diffusion process”.

A moratorium on strong recommendations is needed | The BMJ

Medicine is addicted to so-called hopium, an unwarranted confidence in the value of its tests and treatments. Clinicians overestimate their value,1 while experts on guideline panels make strong recommendations about care backed by untrustworthy evidence.2 Rigorous guideline methods can highlight this problem, but they are far from a perfect antidote—it is time for a moratorium on strong recommendations. In a linked paper (doi:10.1136/BMJ-2021-066045),3 Yao and colleagues report that almost half (1246 of 2528) of the recommendations issued by the leading American cardiology and oncology professional societies were strong, “just do it” recommendations.4 About a quarter (354 of these were based on low certainty evidence. Compared to a consensus process, an evidence based guideline process reduced the risk of issuing such inappropriately strong recommendations, but not completely: the evidence based approach produced about a third (105 of 354) of the inappropriately strong recommendations in this study. Most of them simply conveyed the panels’ overconfidence in the benefit of following their recommendation.

Looking to Tackle Prescription Overload - The New York Times

One way is for patients themselves to combat polypharmacy, by regularly asking their doctors to reassess their medications — sometimes bringing every pill bottle, including supplements, to an appointment for a “brown bag review.” A short list of potentially inappropriate drugs, published by the American Geriatrics Society, can help them spot problems. That is essentially what Leslie Hawkins did for her mother, Dr. Nothelle said. “Every time she had a health care interaction, she asked, ‘Do we need this? Can we lower this? Can we stop this?’” Ten months passed before Ms. Harrison could see her geriatrician again, and by then, “she was a completely different person,” Dr. Nothelle said. “She was awake, she answered my questions. It was night and day.” Ms. Harrison’s score on the 30-question cognition test jumped from three to 25. She is starting physical therapy to improve her mobility. And she is taking four drugs — insulin, a blood pressure medication and two anti-depressants — instead of 14.

How Big Pharma Finds Sick Users on Facebook – The Markup

Ads for Latuda, an antipsychotic from the company Sunovion used in the treatment of bipolar depression, were shown to users with an interest in the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, a nonprofit support group. We also found it targeted at users interested in therapy and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Patient Advocacy Groups Take In Millions From Drugmakers. Is There A Payback? | Kaiser Health News

The financial ties are troubling if they cause even one patient group to act in a way that’s “not fully representing the interest of its constituents,” said Matthew McCoy, a medical ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania who co-authored a 2017 study about patient advocacy groups’ influence and transparency. Notably, such groups have been silent or slow to complain about high or escalating prices, a prime concern of patients. This story also ran on The Daily Beast. This story can be republished for free (details). “When so many patient organizations are being influenced in this way, it can shift our whole approach to health policy, taking away from the interests of patients and towards the interests of industry,” McCoy said. “That’s not just a problem for the patients and caregivers that particular patient organizations serve; that’s a problem for everyone.”

A Million-Dollar Marketing Juggernaut Pushes 3D Mammograms | Kaiser Health News

On average, 3D screenings may slightly increase cancer detection rates, finding about one extra breast tumor for every 1,000 U.S. women screened, according to a 2018 analysis in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Most studies also show that 3D screenings cause fewer “false alarms,” in which women are called back for procedures they don’t need, said Dr. Susan Harvey, a Hologic vice president.

Why is it so hard to review the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Data. | MIT Technology Review

Without a national health-care system, there’s no comprehensive way to assess risks and benefits for different groups that have received the vaccine. There is no routine federal capability to connect patient data with vaccine records. Instead, regulators hope clinicians will hear about the pause and proactively report cases they hadn’t previously connected to vaccinations.  “It might stimulate some clinician to say, ‘Oh my God, Mrs. Jones had that three weeks ago,’” says Reingold. In addition, he says, “there’s still quite a few people who have gotten a dose within the last two weeks, and some of them could develop this rare side effect.” The voluntary system may seem archaic, but that is how the six cases under review came to the attention of the authorities. They were reported to the CDC through an online database called the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, or VAERS. It is an open website that medical staff, patients, and caregivers can use to notify the government about potential vaccine side effects.  Because the system is so open, and requires opt-in participation, it’s impossible to calculate exact risks using VAERS data. Epidemiologists generally think of it as a place to look for hypotheses that tie vaccines to side effects, rather than a source that can be used to confirm their suspicions. Related Story The CDC’s $1.75 billion sequencing boom may be throwing money at the wrong problem Experts say trying to stop covid variants without better data is “insanely difficult.” “It’s a messy system. Anyone can report anything, whether it’s biologically plausible that it’s related to the vaccine or not,” says Mark Sawyer, a member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which reviewed the covid-19 vaccines for public use. “Then the job is to sort through and figure out, is there really a signal here?” The next best thing to a national health-care system is the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink, a consortium of American health insurers that provide medical care to patients in-house. The system includes records of about 10 million patients. Unfortunately, only 113,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been captured by that system so far.

How IBM's audacious plan to 'change the face of health care' fell apart

But former employees said IBM’s approach made it all but impossible to answer those questions. It touted multiple studies, for example, that showed the recommendations of Watson for Oncology, its cancer treatment adviser, closely matched those of hospital tumor boards. However, those studies were carried out with IBM clients, not outside and objective researchers, and didn’t prove the tool could actually improve outcomes. That was a far cry from the claim that Watson could help “outthink cancer,” which IBM was suggesting in national advertisements. “It was all made up,” one former employee said of the marketing without robust data behind it. “They were hellbent on putting [advertisements] out on health care. But we didn’t have the clinical proof or evidence to put anything out there that a clinician or oncologist would believe. It was a constant struggle.”

On Randomized Trials and Medicine - Insight

If we had more proper randomization and tracing of these various approaches, we’d have more dexamethasones at hand. The WHO is leading some randomized trials at the moment, but we have little to none going on in the United States.As we learn more about some effective clinical practices, it’s getting harder to do novel ones: ethically, we cannot withhold known best practices from patients. It’s possible that we have found ourselves stuck at a local optimum, but much less than the upside potential we might have had, had we tried proper randomization from the beginning, when we had little to no idea what worked anyway, we could have conducted randomized trials. We should have.. This oversight will go down as yet another major failure of our health infrastructure and response to this pandemic.