USPSTF Maintains Recommendation Against ECG Screening Of Asymptomatic Low-Risk Adults

The  US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has reaffirmed its 2004 recommendation against ECG screening for asymptomatic adults who are already at low risk for coronary heart disease (CHD). The Task Force also concluded that there was insufficient evidence to assess the risks and benefits of ECG screening in asymptomatic people at intermediate- or high-risk for…

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Authors Retract Article About Websites That Sell Statins Without Prescriptions

An article in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety about websites that advertise statins to consumers has been retracted by the authors after one company mentioned in the article disputed the authors’ assertion that the company sold statins to patients who did not have a prescription. The news was reported on Retraction Watch. Here’s the notice: The following article…

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FDA Approves Vascepa, A New Fish Oil Pill From Amarin

The FDA has approved a new prescription formulation of fish oils for the treatment of very high levels of triglycerides. The news was  first reported by The Street reporter Adam Feuerstein. The drug will be sold under the brand name Vascepa. According to the company, it will be indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride…

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ESC Position Paper Advocates Population-Based Strategies To Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

About half of all cardiovascular deaths could be prevented by implementing population-level changes, according to a position paper from the European Society of Cardiology published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Torben Jørgensen and colleagues maintain that population-level interventions are much more effective than current strategies that seek to reduce individual risk. Population-based strategies include taxation,…

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St Jude CEO Spills The Beans On PFO Closure Trial

(Updated at bottom with statement from St. Jude Medical) Dan Starks, the CEO of St Jude Medical, stated during a quarterly earnings call last week that results of the RESPECT trial of PFO closure for crytpogenic stroke were “favorable” and that the full trial results will be presented in October at the TCT meeting in Miami. But his statement…

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Guest Post: The BMJ’s Amazing Shock and Awe Assault on Sport Drink Science

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Yoni Freedhoff is reprinted with permission from his blog Weighty Matters. Dr. Freedhoff is an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa the and founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute. The BMJ‘s Amazing Shock and Awe Assault on Sport Drink Science by Yoni Freedhoff wow. Wow, WOw, WOW!…

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FDA Approves Another New Weight Loss Drug

The US FDA today approved a new weight loss drug that will be called Qsymia,the brand name for the combination of two previously approved drugs, phentermine and extended-release topiramate. The drug is manufactured by Vivus, Inc. In a press release, the FDA said Qsymia had been approved for use in obese adults (BMI of 30 or…

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Still The One: Cleveland Clinic Retains Top Spot On US News & World Report Heart Hospital Rankings

US News & World Report has published its annual “Best Hospitals” list. Once again, the Cleveland Clinic is the top hospital for heart and heart surgery. Massachusetts General was the top hospital overall, followed by Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, and the Cleveland Clinic. Here are the top 20 hospitals for heart and heart surgery:…

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NY Times: FDA Officials Spied On Its Own Scientists

FDA officials developed “a wide-ranging surveillance operation” against a group of its own “dissident” scientists, according to a news report by Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane in the New York Times. The surveillance program secretly recorded thousands of emails the scientists sent to each other as well as to members of congress, journalists, and, the…

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Coca-Cola, The Olympic Torch, And The American College Of Cardiology

William Zoghbi, the current president of the American College of Cardiology, today served as a torchbearer for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The ACC, naturally, was proud of the honor and tweeted the event. Zoghbi himself wrote about it on his ACC blog.  But I couldn’t help noticing one line in Zoghbi’s blog:  I…

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AHA And ADA Cautiously Endorse Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

In a newly released scientific statement the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association offer a cautious endorsement of the use of non-nutritive sweeteners in the diet. But the statement notes that the products are not “magic bullets” and that there is no strong evidence demonstrating beneficial effects of the products. Sugar in the…

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Stem Cell Therapy Company Hypes Preliminary Results

Update (July 6)–  I have heard from several investigators in the trial that the Osiris press release was issued without any input or consultation from the site investigators. In fact, the site investigators, including several who are  extremely experienced clinical trialists, have expressed frustration and disappointment because their input has not been sought at any point…

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One Reader’s Negative View Of Mark Midei

A few months ago I posted a lengthy piece about Mark Midei, the interventional cardiologist from Maryland who had his medical license suspended last year following a lengthy scandal in which he became the poster-boy (or scapegoat, depending on whom you ask) for all that’s wrong with interventional cardiology in the US. Although I was highly critical…

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Who Really Won Today? Two Views On Roberts And The Commerce Clause

I had planned to stay out of it. Like every other health care journalist I’ve been following today’s Supreme Court decision, but I have no special expertise in this area and I hadn’t planned  to write about it. But then I became interested in a slightly different angle of the story. An article in Slate…

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Good Science/Bad Science: Contrasting Papers On Dietary Compositon In JAMA And BMJ

Two studies published on Tuesday on dietary composition offer a striking contrast. One tackles the interesting question of whether different diets producing the same amount of weight loss might have different effects on energy expenditure. The investigators performed a rigorous, carefully designed experiment that advances our knowledge about diets and metabolism. The second tackled an…

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FDA Approves A New Weight Loss Drug, Breaking a 13 Year Drought

The FDA announced today that it had approved its first new weight loss drug in 13 years. Lorcaserin, which will be sold under the brand name of Belviq, is manufactured by Arena Pharmaceuticals and will be distributed in the US by Eisai. Lorcaserin is indicated for use in obese adults (BMI 30 or above) or…

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FDA Once Again Delays Approval Of Apixaban (Eliquis)

The FDA has once again delayed approval of apixaban (Eliquis), the much-anticipated oral anticoagulant. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer announced today that it had received a a Complete Response Letter (CRL) to the New Drug Application (NDA) for the drug for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. The two…

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FDA Rejects ACS Indication for Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)

The FDA has issued a complete response letter to the supplemental new drug application (NDA) for the proposed indication of rivaroxaban (Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson) in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The action was expected, since last month the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted against recommending the new indication, which was based on…

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Guest Post– Reality Check: The ORIGIN of Spin in a Randomized Trial

Editor’s Note: The following guest post is reprinted with permission from CardioExchange, the cardiology social media website published by the New England Journal of Medicine. Steven Coca is a nephrologist at the Yale School of Medicine.  Reality Check: The ORIGIN of Spin in a Randomized Trial by Steven Coca, DO, MS In the ORIGIN randomized trial, involving about 12,500 people…

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Guest Post: Industry editorial makes outlandish claim about impact of medical devices

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Gary Schwitzer is reprinted with permission from HealthNewsReview blog, an indispensable resource for tracking the best and worst of healthcare journalism. Industry editorial makes outlandish claim about impact of medical devices by Gary Schwitzer Minnesota is the home of several medical device makers.  So there’s been a lot of…

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Growing Popularity Of Dabigatran Leads To Increased Complications

Since its approval in the United States in October 2010 dabigatran (Pradaxa) has been prescribed 3.2 million times to more than 600,000 patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF), according to its manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim. The company also announced that, based on the pivotal RE-LY trial, the “Clinical Studies” section of the drug’s prescribing information now…

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Subway Meals Get American Heart Association Endorsement

The American Heart Association (AHA) announced today that it had initiated a new program that it claims will help people choose healthy meals at restaurants. The Subway restaurant chain will be the first to display the Heart-Check Meal Certification logo next to certain selected meals. In a press release the AHA’s president, Gordon Tomaselli, said…

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Fascinating Debate Over Statins For Primary Prevention

The recent guest post by David Newman has prompted several thought-provoking comments. Since most readers will likely miss the comments, I’ve moved these comments to a separate post. Statin Island May 27, 2012, 3:35 PM: Thank you. Clearly, this important commentary raises questions about the integrity of Lancet as well as the authors of the study. But…

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Guest Post: Data, Drugs, And Deception– A True Story

Editor’s Note: The following guest post by Dr. David Newman is reprinted with permission from his website and blog, Smartem.Org. Dr. Newman is an Emergency Physician and Director of Clinical Research at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine.  He is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets From the House of…

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You Know Nothing, Dr. Snow: Why Medicine Can’t Be More Like Facebook

Medicine can never be like Facebook, despite what Matt Herper argues over at Forbes. Perhaps he was just trolling for hits on a day when everyone is thinking about the Facebook IPO, but Herper proposed, with apparently seriousness, that medicine needs to model itself on the tech world in order to match the kind of…

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