Wednesday, February 28, 2007

2 New AIDS Drugs

The New York Times reports on two new drugs being developed to fight HIV. These drugs are remarkable in that they represent two totally new classes of treatment, each one offering a unique way to battle the disease. Though there are around 20 HIV drugs available, they each fall into one of four broad categories. In essence, there are only four ways to treat HIV infection right now. In the next few months these two new drugs will bring the total up to six. It's remarkable news we should all be incredibly excited about.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Good Ole' Fashioned Medicine

The New York Times has a great article about a peculiar medical problem which required a deft diagnosis to treat. The moral of the story is that there's a place for both old and new-fashioned techniques in medicine. I think we should all take it to heart.

Lunatic M.D.

There's almost nothing to say about this, except it's clear that certain medical schools really need to implement more comprehensive psychological testing of potential applicants, because this dude it a lunatic.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Binge Eating

CNN reports on binge eating, an increasingly common disorder mostly affecting women. I wonder how much discussion of eating disorders affects the rate of eating disorders. Is there a copycat effect, where people begin to understand their habits as a disorder and so feel more justified in indulging them because they have a disease. Or, I wonder if more frequent reporting on issues like eating disorders results in more people coming forward, admitting they have the disease, and getting treatment. If that was the case, then more frequent reporting would result in a spike in diagnoses of the condition. Can people develop an eating disorder from hearing about it in the media? Can people develop an eating disorder that doesn't key off of society's demands for thin, beautiful women? Is there ever a situation where reporting on something like this is ethically questionable?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It Looks Like a Bong

Pharmalot reports on Pfizer's attempts to boost lagging sales of Exubera, an insulin inhaler that apparently looks like a bong. I think the problem with a lot of medical blogging is that the pharmaceutical companies end up looking like the bad guys, so it prompts a fair amount of vitriol on the part of bloggers and readers. I mean, I'm sort of happy that Pfizer's product is failing. But, on the other hand, that product represents countless jobs, and most likely a source of revenue for other drugs that might be more popular and save more lives. How can I be so happy at the thought of someone taking the fall for this product?

A Tidbit about Online Medical Advice

Over My Med Body has a quick post about taking medical advice from random people online. I think the old "stranger danger" adage applies here. Unless people online can verify that they are doctors, a service that supplies, you should take what they say with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Missing the Forest for the Trees

The BBC reports on a recent study indicating that natural contraception, a.k.a. the rhythm method, is as effective as other contraceptives in preventing pregnancies when used correctly. It's articles like this that make me feel like I don't understand journalism at all. These types of stories deserve some analysis, some critical thinking, some consideration of the larger issues at stake. To report that the rhythm method is an effective method of contraception is to fuel a huge international debate that touches on everything from education to religion. How can a news service not include a discussion of how this type of study might affect that debate? Isn't that the whole point of reporting on the study in the first place, to affect the debate?