NIH Funds Second Round Of Controversial Chelation Tria

–TACT2 will test chelation in heart attack patients with diabetes. The NIH has agreed to fund a second round of a highly controversial study testing the possible benefits of chelation therapy in heart attack patients with diabetes. The second Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT2), now recruiting patients at more than 100 clinical sites, is…

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Zombie Lab Sues Former Execs, Owners, And Sales Force

–Yet more fallout from the catastrophic bankruptcy of HDL Lab The Zombie Lab case just got even messier. Last Friday the trustee for the bankrupt Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) filed a massive lawsuit against the former executives, owners, sales force members, and others who profited from HDL. The 205-page lawsuit includes a detailed narrative of…

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Debate: Switching From Standard HF Therapy To Entresto

–A debate at the HFSA in Orlando over whether all patients tolerating standard therapy should be switched to Entresto. Editor’s Note: Heart failure specialist Eiran Z. Gorodeski (Cleveland Clinic) wrote this account of an important debate on Monday at the Heart Failure Society of America meeting in Orlando. (This account has been updated by Gorodeski with…

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American Heart Association and American Society Of Hypertension Explore Merger

–The two US blood pressure societies want to become ‘a single force multiplier in the fight against hypertension’ The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) are officially exploring a merger. In a message sent to ASH members, ASH president John Bisognano (University of Rochester) said that “for the past several…

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Zombie Lab Company Sics Bill Collectors On Doctors Who Took Kickbacks

–The liquidating trustee for HDL Lab is seeking to reclaim kickbacks paid to doctors who ordered the company’s tests. Many doctors who ordered tests in the past from Health Diagnostic Laboratory (HDL) are now opening some unexpected and very unwelcome letters. HDL was the billion dollar lab company with a meteoric rise and an even…

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The Lancet Versus BMJ: Dispatch From The Statin Wars

–The editors of the two top UK medical journals are in a bitter fight over statins. The editors of the two top medical journals in the UK are at war over statins. The bitter fight has its origins in the 2014 publication in the BMJ of two articles that were highly critical of statins. Rory…

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SPRINTing to Lower BP Targets? Not So Fast

–Hypertension experts disagree about how to apply SPRINT results in the real world.  Once again blood pressure experts are disagreeing about how to interpret SPRINT and how its results should be applied in the real world. A new study claims that applying the SPRINT results to US patients who meet SPRINT criteria would prevent more…

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How Sweet: Sugar Industry Made Fat the Villain

–Harvard researchers received sugar industry money to write a NEJM review. Newly uncovered documents reveal that 50 years ago the sugar industry gave secret support to prominent Harvard researchers to write an influential series of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine that downplayed the negative effects of sugar. Instead, the articles shifted the blame…

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Guest Post: JACC Retracts AF Ablation Trial

Editor’s note: This guest post by Dalmeet Singh Chawla is reprinted with the permission of Retraction Watch, where it was originally published in a slightly different form. –Lead author Andrea Natale claims undue industry influence. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) has retracted a recently published paper that questioned the effectiveness of a treatment for atrial…

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Statin Trialists Seek To Bury Debate With Evidence

–A Lancet review claims overwhelming evidence in favor of statins for both primary and secondary prevention. Some disagree. A large group of statin researchers argue forcefully that the debate over statins should be ended because the evidence in favor of statins is overwhelming and incontrovertible. But some outsiders say the issue is more nuanced and…

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SPRINT: More Controversy And Confusion About ‘Landmark’ Trial

–Blood pressure experts raise new questions and concerns about the controversial trial. More questions and concerns are being raised about SPRINT, the NIH’s “landmark” blood pressure lowering trial. In sharp contrast to the enormous amount of initial hype, many hypertension experts are now saying that the SPRINT trial is difficult to interpret and can’t be readily…

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Experts Weigh In On The Decline In Cardiovascular Drug Development

–CV disease is the top killer but pharma is pulling back on developing new drugs. Although cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the world fewer cardiovascular drugs are under development now than in the past, according to a study published in JACC: Basic to Translational Science. Thomas Hwang and colleagues at…

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Cardiologists: Thumbs Down To SPRINT

[Updated, August 29, August 30] –SPRINT should not be used in guidelines to lower blood pressure targets. Should the SPRINT trial be used by guideline committees to lower systolic blood pressure targets? After listening to a high-powered debate at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Rome on Sunday, most audience members gave thumbs down…

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Dollars For Heart Docs: 2015 Edition

–Cardiologists received more than $200 million from industry in 2015. In 2015 cardiologists and other cardiovascular specialists received more than $200 million dollars from industry, according to new data released by Medicare. More than 30,000 physicians in cardiovascular medicine received industry payments in 2015, though many of these payments were relatively small amounts. But more…

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Anticipated Heart Failure Trial Delayed Until November

–The results of TRUE-AHF won’t be presented at the ESC. The results of a highly anticipated and already-delayed clinical trial won’t be presented until November at the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans. Presentation of the trial was originally scheduled earlier his year as a late-breaking presentation at the American College of Cardiology meeting…

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Imprecise Medicine: Genetic Tests Lead To Misdiagnosis

–Some black Americans were wrongly told they had a high risk for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Precision medicine offers the promise of an accurate assessment of individual risk for serious conditions like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). But a new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine,” which the authors describe as “a cautionary tale of broad…

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The Twitter Debate Over Cholesterol Screening In Kids

–Cardiologists discuss the screening controversy in 140 characters or less. My recent post on the debate over cholesterol screening in children provoked a fascinating discussion on Twitter, including comments from several highly knowledgeable experts and clinicians. The discussion started when James Stein, a preventive cardiologist at the University of Wisconsin), tweeted: Lipid screening in kids….

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Clinical Trialists Dig In And Vote For Status Quo

–Doctors who got famous for doing clinical trials resist changes to the clinical trial system. It should probably come as no surprise that hundreds of clinical trial investigators whose positions and livelihoods depend largely on the existing clinical trial system have expressed great reluctance and annoyance at a proposal that could radically shake up that system. As…

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Top Clinical Investigators Seek To Dampen Impact Of Data Sharing

Despite earlier concerns by its editors about “data parasites,” the New England Journal of Medicine has now published 4 articles offering support in some form for data sharing. But two of the articles— written by many of the most prominent clinical trial researchers in the United States and Canada— express grave concerns about data sharing…

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The Big Dirty Secret Every Doctor Knows

–Eminence-based medicine is not the exception. It’s the rule.    Lately I’ve been writing about eminence-based medicine (here, here, and here). In response to these posts Saurabh Jha, a well-known radiologist and health-policy critic, asked me on Twitter: “How do you find these utter gems?!” I was surprised by Jha’s question. At first I thought…

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Pioneering Interventional Cardiologist Defends Unorthodox Practices

–Bernhard Meier explains why he seals plaques and thinks PFO closure is ‘the best procedure in interventional cardiology’ (Updated) Recently I wrote about an article by Bernhard Meier, a top interventional cardiologist, in which he rejected the idea that evidence based on randomized controlled trials should be the basis for the practice of interventional cardiology….

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Eminence Based Medicine And Cardiac Surgery

Did a top surgeon perform a nonrandomized, semi-prospective, historically controlled clinical trial without IRB approval or patient consent? I don’t want to only pick on interventional cardiologists. Last week I wrote about a breathtaking case of interventional cardiology hubris. In response a prominent interventional cardiologist shared with me a fascinating anecdote about cardiac surgery. Here’s…

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Interventional Cardiology And The Rejection Of Science

–Prominent interventional cardiologist says clinical trials are slowing progress In their eagerness to embrace a glorious future of ever more spectacular technology-based advances, interventional cardiology— a subspecialty never exactly known for caution, patience, or self reflection— is poised to reject science, evidence-based medicine, and randomized controlled trials. “Generating and publishing evidence is a tedious job,”…

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The Billion Dollar Lab Scandal

If you think Theranos is a big story then I have some news for you. There’s another medical laboratory scandal  that dwarfs the Theranos story by almost any standard except for hype. The Theranos story is an important sexy Silicon Valley story. It’s more about an imagined  shimmering future than about the greasy present we actually…

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Alere Withdraws Anticoagulation Monitoring System At Heart Of ROCKET AF Controversy

–FDA says the manufacturer has not demonstrated that it has fixed the problem. The  Alere INRatio® and INRatio®2 PT/INR Monitoring System are being pulled from the market. Alere, the manufacturer of the devices, which are used by people taking warfarin to monitor their INR, said that the action follows a “collaborative process” with the FDA. The…

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