ESC 2015 Set To Start In London

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The European Society of Cardiology meeting starts this weekend in London.   Merrie Olde Englande?   Industry will be here too.  …

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Wow! Maybe– Finally– A Positive Diabetes Drug Outcomes Trial

Until now the best thing anyone could say for sure about all the new diabetes drugs was that at least they didn’t kill people. That’s because although these drugs have been shown to be highly effective in reducing glucose levels, a series of large cardiovascular outcomes trials failed to provide any evidence of significant clinical…

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$300 Millions Dollars Of Cardiology Sunshine

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$300 million dollars. That’s how much industry paid to cardiologists and other related healthcare professionals between August 2013 and December 2014… … Click here to read my entire story on MedPage Today….

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Why The Internet Stinks– Part 1

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Like many other bloggers and journalists I get a lot of unsolicited and unwanted pitches. For years I just threw them in the trash. Now I’m going to share some of these gems with the rest of you. Here’s the first installment (click to enlarge):…

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Another One Bites The Dust: On The Death Of A Social Media Site For Doctors

Like a certain late lamented parrot, CardioExchange is no more. It has ceased to be. The website was started by the New England Journal of Medicine and the Massachusetts Medical Society more than 5 years ago in the wake of the explosive and ubiquitous growth of social media. But the rise of social media also provoked tremendous uncertainty and even anxiety over its role in…

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No, Pharmascolds Are Not Worse Than The Pervasive Conflicts Of Interest They Criticize

Let’s start with a quick poll:  Which is worse? A. The pervasive influence of industry on medicine, which has undermined the independence and altruism of physicians. B. The critics of industry influence, who have created a paranoid culture of distrust which has undermined the partnership of industry and physicians that has brought medicine to its current heights. If you chose B then you are…

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Inside The Scandal: Profit And Greed At An Embattled Laboratory Company

How does a clinical laboratory company grow in a few short years from nothing to more than $400 million in revenue and over $100 million in profit? Since the same company just settled with the DOJ for as much as $100 million, it’s reasonable to suspect that growth was probably not entirely legitimate. Now new information,…

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AF Patients at Increased Risk for Silent Strokes

The increased risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AF) is well known, and this stroke risk is, of course, linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Less well known is that people with AF have an increased risk for cognitive impairment independent of their stroke risk. Now a new study published…

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No Difference in Survival Found for Different Aortic Valve Prostheses

A new study published in JAMA suggests that younger patients who need aortic valve replacement (AVR) may now be more eligible to receive bioprosthetic valves. Each year about 50,000 people in the U.S. undergo AVR surgery. Older patients generally receive bioprosthetic valves because these valves are less prone to clotting and bleeding complications. Surgeons are often reluctant to…

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Way Beyond Kickbacks: More Serious Misconduct Alleged Against Medical Testing Company

The problems go way beyond kickbacks. As previously reported (here and in the Wall Street Journal) the US government is conducting an investigation into Health Diagnostic Laboratory, a medical laboratory testing company that has enjoyed explosive growth since its founding in 2008. Previous reports centered on kickbacks given to physicians by the company to encourage greater use of the company’s…

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FDA Advisory Panel Offers Cautious Support For Polypill

The controversial polypill took one step closer to reaching the US market after receiving a mostly positive reception from the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee on Wednesday. The idea for the polypill– which in this case would be composed of aspirin, a statin, and one or more blood pressure drugs– has been kicking around for…

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Mobile Cardiovascular Screening Programs Come Under Fire

It seems like a no brainer. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer in the world so broad screening of the general population must be a good idea, right? Wrong, says the consumer group Public Citizen, at least when such screening is performed indiscriminately. Somewhat surprisingly, Public Citizen, which is often held at arm’s length by mainstream…

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Mixed Results for Thrombolysis in Pulmonary Embolism

The role of thrombolytic therapy for the treatment of pulmonary embolism has been unclear, as it has been difficult to measure the precise balance between enhanced clot-dissolving efficacy and greater bleeding risk produced by thrombolysis when compared with conventional anticoagulation. A new meta-analysis published in JAMA analyzed data from 16 randomized trials including 2115 patients. Overall, there…

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What Role Should Coca-Cola Play In Obesity Research?

Original illustration by Max Husten

What role should Coca-Cola and other food and beverage companies play in funding and communicating research about nutrition and obesity? The question is prompted by a recent article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The “state-of-the-art” paper reviews the relationship of obesity and cardiovascular disease and presents the case that a decline in physical activity is the primary cause…

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Cardiology And The Medicare Data Avalanche

The avalanche of data released by Medicare on Wednesday was followed shortly by an avalanche of news reports about the data. Here’s a review of some of the more significant cardiology-related details that came out in these stories. Cardiology was the third in a New York Times list of total Medicare payments received by the highest-paid 2% of doctors….

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Early Success For Novel Novartis Heart Failure Drug

A large clinical trial testing a novel compound from Novartis for chronic heart failure has been stopped early for efficacy. In a press release Novartis said the Data Monitoring Committee had recommended early closure of the PARADIGM-HF trial because the trial had demonstrated a significant reduction in the combined primary endpoint of cardiovascular death and…

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Steve Jobs Rejected The First Medical App In 1977

There’s been a lot of speculation that future Apple products will include health-related apps and biometric sensors. Here’s the story of what might have been the first Apple medical app, except for the fact that in 1977 Steve Jobs had absolutely no interest in going in that direction. George Diamond is now retired after a long and very distinguished career as a cardiologist…

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Vitamin Supplements Come Up Short Once Again

Once again the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that there is no good evidence to support the routine use of multivitamins or most individual or combination vitamins by healthy adults to prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer. The USPSTF also recommended against the use of two specific vitamins — beta-carotene and vitamin E. Beta-carotene has been…

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Victor Dzau Leaving Duke To Head The Institute Of Medicine

Cardiologist Victor Dzau will leave his positions as the chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and the CEO of the Duke University Health System to become the next president of the Institute of Medicine. He will replace Harvey Fineberg, who has been the IOM president for the last 12 years. “I am humbled and…

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FDA Panel Gives Support To Novel Stroke Prevention Device From Boston Scientific

The FDA’s Circulatory System Devices Panel yesterday gave a vote of confidence to Boston Scientific’s Watchman left atrial appendage closure device for the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients. By a large majority the panel agreed that the device was effective, that it was safe, and that the benefits outweighed the risks. In each case the…

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Go Nuts! Consumption of Nuts Linked to Mortality Benefit

Nut consumption has long been linked to healthy lifestyles. Now, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine extends the finding and demonstrates a strong association with improved mortality. Ying Bao and colleagues examined data from nearly 120,000 people enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study to assess the relationship of nut consumption…

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Replacement Versus Repair for Mitral Valve Regurgitation

Surgery is thought to be life-saving for people who have ischemic mitral regurgitation, but it is unknown whether surgical repair or surgical replacement of the mitral valve is the better procedure. Repair is thought to result in fewer preoperative deaths and replacement is thought to have better long-term outcomes with a reduced incidence of recurrent…

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Hypertension Treatment Flowchart Fills in for Missing Guideline

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When the AHA and the ACC released four updated clinical guidelines earlier this week, a fifth document, the hypertension guideline, was conspicuous by its absence. According to the AHA and the ACC, the authors of the hypertension document have chosen to publish it independently. (No word has yet emerged about their reasons for doing so or…

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The Fate Of New Cholesterol Drugs Depends On IMPROVE-IT

Prospects for the highly anticipated new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, the PCSK9 inhibitors, took a wild roller coaster ride this week. The publication of new lipid guidelines by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology led many observers to think that the promising new drugs under development by Regeneron (in partnership with Sanofi),…

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FDA Seeks To Eliminate Trans Fats From Food In The US

    The FDA said today that it would begin to take efforts to remove trans fats from food in the USA. The agency has made the “preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not ‘generally recognized as safe’ for use in food.”   If the FDA’s preliminary determination is…

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