Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Medical journals and industry ties: Zero tolerance on education articles with financial links to industry

The BMJ was one of the first medical journals to seek
declarations of competing interests from authors. Our focus is
on financial competing interests as we believe these to be the
most identifiable. We do, however, understand that competing
interests come in many forms and we also routinely ask authors
to declare relevant non-financial competing interests. The
governing principle has been that transparency is a panacea.1
We placed faith in this principle, but mounting experience and
evidence tell us that we were only half right.2 Transparency
remains essential, but it isn’t sufficient to eliminate bias or
perception of bias.
We believe this risk of bias is particularly important for clinical
educational articles that are designed to guide patient care, when
authors’ biases may be less visible to general medical readers.
For some years we have sought to minimise as well as declare
competing interests for these articles. Recently we introduced
more active management of competing interests, requiring
authors to complete a more detailed declaration and excluding
authors with close ties. Now we have decided to go a step
further, as heralded three years ago.

Read more of this article in BMJ:

doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7197 (Published 28 November 2014)

Conflict of interest in online point-of-care clinical support websites: Article in Journal of Medical Ethics

Point-of-care evidence-based medicine websites allow physicians to answer clinical queries using recent evidence at the bedside. Despite significant research into the function, usability and effectiveness of these programmes, little attention has been paid to their ethical issues. As many of these sites summarise the literature and provide recommendations, we sought to assess the role of conflicts of interest in two widely used websites: UpToDate and Dynamed
Read more

Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients

Bad Science’ hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science, becoming a 400,000 copy bestseller. Now Ben Goldacre puts the $600bn global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.
Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact, even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. 

Also see All Trials: 'Results from half all medical trials are hidden' 

Bad Science

Ben is a best-selling author, broadcaster, campaigner, medical doctor and academic who specialises in unpicking the misuse of science and statistics by journalists, politicians, quacks, drug companies, and more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Older Americans unversed in the Internet 'know less about health'

The Internet is a familiar tool of everyday life and an important source of information, including on health. Except, that is, for those who find themselves stranded on the wrong side of the "digital divide." Now, researchers warn that older Americans who are not online could be sidelined as the Internet's role in providing health information grows
Read more

Monday, December 1, 2014

Younger children to lose out in new dental care plan

Public health dentists have been told to prioritise the care of older children’s teeth, in a move which is likely to see thousands of younger schoolchildren miss out on regular dental check-ups.
For the first time, waiting lists are being created for regular dental screening as priority is given to the needs of 11- to 14-year-olds, under a new plan within the Health Service Executive.

Inquiry ordered into slapping, force-feeding allegations at Mayo centre

Nine staff placed ‘off-duty’ at Áras Attracta facility for adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Inquiry ordered into slapping, force-feeding allegations at Mayo centre

Nine staff placed ‘off-duty’ at Áras Attracta facility for adults with intellectual disabilities. Allegations of serious mistreatment of residents at a Co Mayo centre for adults with intellectual disabilities have prompted the Health Service Executive to order an independently led investigation.

The HSE, which runs the unit, has also notified the Garda about the allegations, which have resulted in nine staff at Áras Attracta residential facility being placed “off-duty”. The investigation will examine serious allegations of slapping and force-feeding of patients, HSE national director for social care Pat Healy told The Irish Times.

Athlone IT Nursing & Health Science Building