Category: Diagnostic tests & procedures

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Road Map or Tarot Cards?

A topic of growing interest (and concern) at SBM is laboratory and diagnostic test pseudoscience. Bogus tests are everywhere, and Kimball Atwood recently discussed several of them. But over the past several years, diagnostic tests have emerged that appear to be science-based and offer gene-level insights into your health. And these tests don’t even require a physician’s visit – just a swab...

/ September 2, 2010

Doctor’s Data Sues Quackwatch

A few weeks ago I posted an article about bogus diagnostic tests. I cited Doctor’s Data, Inc. (DDI), as “a company with a long history of dubious offerings.” I also wrote: You can’t help but have noticed that many of the links in this post are to articles on Quackwatch. That’s because the site is chock full of useful information about bogus tests,...

/ July 5, 2010

Certainty versus knowledge in medicine

I don’t want knowledge. I want certainty! — David Bowie, from Law (Earthlings on Fire) If there’s a trait among humans that seems universal, it appears to be an unquenchable thirst for certainty. It is likely to be a major force that drives people into the arms of religion, even radical religions that have clearly irrational views, such as the idea that...

/ June 7, 2010

Bogus Diagnostic Tests

A few years ago a friend asked me to comment on advice given to her adult daughter by a psychiatrist whom she’d consulted for depression. The psychiatrist had recommended testing samples of saliva and urine for hormone and neurotransmitter levels, the results of which would likely indicate a need for supplements to correct deficiencies or imbalances. According to the psychiatrist, who had...

/ April 29, 2010

Time to Care: Personal Medicine in the Age of Technology

In 1925, Francis Peabody famously said “The secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.” A new book by Norman Makous, MD, a cardiologist who has practiced for 60 years, is a cogent reminder of that principle. In Time to Care: Personal Medicine in the Age of Technology, Dr. Makous tackles a big subject. He attempts to...

/ February 9, 2010

James Ray and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

For the last four years I have served in a volunteer capacity among a panel of pharmacotherapy experts queried regularly by the ABC News Medical Unit about breaking or upcoming news involving the efficacy and safety of drugs and supplements. Where appropriate, I provide background information that informs the story. My incentive is largely to put my time where my mouth is...

/ January 8, 2010

Another wrinkle to the USPSTF mammogram guidelines kerfuffle: What about African-American women?

A while back I wrote about rethinking how we screen for breast cancer using mammography. Basically, the USPSTF, an independent panel of physicians and health experts that makes nonbinding recommendations for the government on various health issues, reevaluated the evidence for routine screening mammography and concluded that for women at normal risk for breast cancer, mammography before age 50 should not be...

/ December 14, 2009

The USPSTF recommendations for breast cancer screening: Not the final word

Preface: On issues such as this, I think it’s always good for me to emphasize my disclaimer, in particular: Dr. Gorski must emphasize that the opinions expressed in his posts on Private-investigator-detective are his and his alone and that all writing for this blog is done on his own time and not in any capacity representing his place of employment. His...

/ November 18, 2009

The cancer screening kerfuffle erupts again: “Rethinking” screening for breast and prostate cancer

I see that the kerfuffle over screening for cancer has erupted again to the point where it’s found its way out of the rarified air of specialty journals to general medical journals and hence into the mainstream press. Over the last couple of weeks, articles have appeared in newspapers such as the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, radio networks like NPR,...

/ November 2, 2009

Are one in three breast cancers really overdiagnosed and overtreated?

Screening for disease is a real pain. I was reminded of this by the publication of a study in BMJ the very day of the Private-investigator-detective Conference a week and a half ago. Unfortunately, between The Amaz!ng Meeting and other activities, I was too busy to give this study the attention it deserved last Monday. Given the media coverage of the...

/ July 20, 2009