The Antidote

Counterspin for Health Care and Health News

Monday, December 21, 2009


According to the Washington Post, Maine is considering adding a warning about cancer risk to cell-phones. A state legislator claims that there are "numerous studies" to support such a risk. To be fair, I'm not really current with the literature, but I do wonder: do cell phones also come with a warning about risks of crashing your car?

For that matter, how about absolute risks of cancer, contrasted with absolute risk of crashing your car? Anyone seen these numbers?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Improving dementia-care homes in the UK

Today, after watching last evening this rather moving program in which someone called Gerry Robinson visits and tries to fix dementia care in the UK, I found out that Mr Robinson (actually Sir Gerry) was a businessman. That might explain why he just threw up his hands when confronted with pretty clear evidence that one of these homes was owned and run by two people who couldn't see past making a profit to the well-being of the residents (or the staff, for that matter). Robinson just wasn't ready to admit that capitalism might not always be a sustainable model for the provision of dementia care.

But that's what we have, for now. Measuring and improving quality of care for dementia is, according to the program, in its infancy, but developing measures and benchmarks based on quality of life would be a big step forward.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tamiflu evidence questioned

Cochrane reviewers have concluded in yesterday's British Medical Journal that there is little evidence that antiviral drug oseltamivir, or Tamiflu, stops flu complications in otherwise healthy people. The BMJ has a number of related articles as well.

BBC News today had a great investigative piece on the story behind the evidence; there is one crucial, oft-cited dataset belonging to Tamiflu manufacturer Roche, which Roche has not released to the Cochrane reviewers. The BBC has not yet posted a link to the story but I'll up date this when it's available. Meanwhile, the Guardian has also covered the story.

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