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Guest Blog: The Confusing Morass of Medical Evidence

Ken Covinsky | July 28, 2011

Practitioners of evidence-based medicine use published evidence from the medical literature to guide them as they try to provide the best care for each patient. But sometimes the medical literature just feels like a big morass.

Our Preference in Health News: Uncertainty or Naked Ladies?

Jessie Gruman | July 27, 2011

News of the World wasn't read by 15 percent of the British public because it told people what they should know. It got there by giving them what they wanted: stories about the peccadilloes of the rich and famous, accounts of the gross incompetence of government and of course, pictures of naked ladies.

Better Health's Grand Rounds Volume 7, Number 44

CFAH Staff | July 26, 2011

This week's Grand Rounds collection of posts wrestles with conflicts of interest in reporting on evidence, obstacles to the delivery of evidence-based care, using evidence in practice and care decisions, and providing patient-centered care.

Accommodations for Chronic Conditions

Patient Perspectives | July 25, 2011

In addition to managing the physical and mental symptoms that so often come along with an illness or impairment, those who are ill sometimes must also cope with discrimination. From food allergies to wheelchair accessibility ' here are patients' perspectives.

Too Much Information in Medical Decision Making?

Conversation Continues | July 22, 2011

Paula Span of The New York Times New Old Age blog could have used more information about medical risks when helping her father decide whether to remove a benign mole. Span wanted to know what the odds were of a benign mole turning malignant.

Guest Blog: Niseritide, the 'Lost Decade', and the Pinto

Patricia Salber | July 21, 2011

Eric Topol, MD wrote an interesting commentary in the July 7, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, titled 'The Lost Decade of Nesiritide.' Nesiritide is a drug for heart failure symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath) that was approved by the FDA in 2001. Since that time, according to Dr. Topol, 'well more than $1 Billion was wasted on purchasing the drug.'

Drug Labeling Inside the Box

Trudy Lieberman | July 20, 2011

Reading those lengthy package inserts about the medicines you're taking is a bit like eating peas. You know they are good for you, but your gut says 'yuck.' So odds are you don't bother with all that teensy-tiny fine print, but just take the medicine and hope for the best.

We're Hosting Grand Rounds for Better Health on Tuesday, July 26th

CFAH Staff | July 20, 2011

We're hosting Grand Rounds for Better Health on Tuesday, July 26th. Grand Rounds is a collection of top recent health care blog posts. For this week's theme and submission instructions...

1st Person: Pain: a Constant Companion

First Person | July 19, 2011

Teresa Shaffer has suffered from chronic pain from degenerative joint disease since she underwent six months of bedrest during her third pregnancy.

Prepared Patient: When Pain Doesn't End

Health Behavior News Service | July 19, 2011

At 24, Teresa Shaffer, began a decades-long journey through chronic pain, eventually receiving a diagnosis of degenerative joint disease. Although she was wheelchair-bound at one point, today, at 47, through water therapy, medication, exercise, counseling and perseverance, Shaffer is able to walk on her own and manage her pain'as well as serving as an advocate for other pain patients. Kelly Young has suffered constant pain from her rheumatoid arthritis for the last five years. A mother of five, 46-year-old Young copes with her illness with a mix of medications, grit and advocacy work.

1st Person: I Think So Too

First Person | July 19, 2011

Breast cancer survivor, Lisa Bonchek Adams, blogs about life-changing events including a cancer diagnosis, the sudden death of a family member, and having a child with medical challenges. She combines medical, psychological, and sociological viewpoints to these and other topics. You can read this post and follow her at

'Is a Cheaper, Effective Option Available?' An Important Question to Ask

Conversation Continues | July 18, 2011

The Costs of Care blog, "Hidden Costs of Medication", reinforces the importance of asking, 'How expensive is this treatment?" and "Is a less expensive option available?'

Patient Advocates: Flies In The Ointment Of Evidence-Based Care

Jessie Gruman | July 18, 2011

The women recounted how their lives had been saved as they pleaded for the Food and Drug Administration not to withdraw approval for Avastin as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. They did so even without evidence that it provides benefit and with evidence that it confers risks.

Guest Blog: Anti-vaccine propaganda in The Baltimore Sun

David Gorski | July 15, 2011

Why does the manufactroversy that vaccines cause autism persist? There is no longer a scientific controversy; by and large, the question has been asked and answered. Vaccines do not cause autism, as far as we can detect. Yet the fear persists.

The Hidden Secrets of Evidence

Connie Davis | July 15, 2011

I have a fear. My fear is that the public has an unrealistic view of medicine and the science behind it.

Turning 65: Medicare's Future and Me

Trudy Lieberman | July 14, 2011

I once thought that when I signed up for Medicare, I would never again have to worry about paying for health care. But I will. Medicare's future shape and substance is uncertain.

Engagement Does Not Mean Compliance

Jessie Gruman | July 13, 2011

Engagement and compliance are not synonyms. I am compliant if I do what my doctor tells me to do. I am engaged, on the other hand, when I actively participate in the process of solving my health problems.

Where to Seek Help for Questions about Your Health and Health Care

Conversation Continues | July 13, 2011

Lisa Zamosky from the LA Times' Health 411 column offers tips on finding a doctor who accepts Medicare while Trudy Lieberman examines the process for signing up.

Guest Blog: "Creepy" Invasion of Pharma Into Patient-Targeted Social Media Space

Gary Schwitzer | July 12, 2011

Marilyn Mann is a securities lawyer and a breast cancer survivor. Here, she exposes the recent message she received from a woman who joined her Facebook page.

Understanding Your Medical Risk: Nice or Necessary?

Conversation Continues | July 12, 2011

Sam Wainwright from New America's Health Policy Program offers his opinion on the controversy surrounding whether or not doctors should present or withhold data about patients' medical risks.

Guest Blog: A Letter to a Patient

Country Doctor | July 11, 2011

With humility and understanding of the ever evolving field of medicine, 'A Country Doctor' thanks a patient for 'staying with me.'

Inside Health Care: The Uneven Terrain of Behavior Change

CFAH Staff | July 7, 2011

Three physicians navigate the perplexing world of health behavior in this week's Inside Health Care round-up.

Can New Tools Improve Medication Adherence?

Conversation Continues | July 6, 2011

Medication non-compliance is a pervasive problem resulting from a complex set of factors. Now, using publicly identifiable information, the credit-rating company FICO has developed a Medication Adherence Score that may help health plans identify those most at risk, and Geisinger Health Systems and CVS Caremark are conducting a study to assess whether enhanced doctor-pharmacist communication can help.