Few forms of invasive breast cancer warrant no treatment unless the patient is so old that she is likely to die first of another condition, or the patient prefers to die of the disease….“Mammograms Spot Cancers That May Not Be Dangerous,” said WebMD, yesterday. This is feel-good news, and largely wishful.
Yesterday the AMA news informed me that cyberchondria is on the rise. So it’s a good moment to consider the term’s meaning and history. Cyberchondria is an unfounded health concern that develops upon searching the Internet for information about symptoms or a disease. A cyberchondriac is someone who surfs the Web about a medical problem […]
This week the FDA approved a new assay for Her2 expression in breast cancer biopsies. The technology, Inform Dual ISH, is manufactured by Ventana Medical Systems, a Roche subsidiary. Inform Dual ISH works like this: technicians, typically working under the supervision of a pathologist, expose a tiny bit of a breast biopsy specimen, fixed on […]
The two-letter acronym specifies a molecule, or antigen, usually on a cell’s surface…
A surprise lesson arrived in my snail mailbox today: the April 28 issue of NEJM includes a fascinating research paper on a probable cause of leprosy in the southern U.S. New, detailed genetic studies show that armadillos, long-known to harbor the disease, carry the same strain as occurs in some patients; they’re a likely culprit […]
The author has been concerned for a while that she might be addicted to blogging. Symptoms include wanting to post instead of working on a book proposal and other, likely more important projects. She was thinking of crowd-sourcing how best to describe this disposition, but it turns out the Internet already provides a diagnostic term: […]
The Times ran an intriguing experiment on its Well blog yesterday: a medical problem-solving contest. The challenge, based on the story of a real girl who lives near Philadelphia, drew 1379 posted comments and closed this morning with publication of the answer. Dr. Lisa Sanders, who moderated the piece, says today that the first submitted […]
There’s a new study out on mammography with important implications for breast cancer screening. The main result is that when radiologists review more mammograms per year, the rate of false positives declines. The stated purpose of the research,* published in the journal Radiology, was to see how radiologists’ interpretive volume – essentially the number of […]
This is an unusual entry into a discussion on the limits of patient empowerment. In late December the Times ran a story, beginning on its front page, about a portrait in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Diego Velázquez, the 17th Century Spanish painter. The news was that the tall representation of the teenage Prince […]
I’ve been wondering, lately, why so many of the medical blogs cover the same topics, like last week’s lung cancer detection trial, which are often the exact same studies as are reported by conventional news outlets. I’ve been trying, here, to sometimes consider new published articles that seem important to me but, for whatever reasons, don’t get so much attention.
Yesterday’s NEJM includes an article Romiplostim or Standard of Care in Patients with Immune Thrombocytopenia.* It’s about a drug, manufactured and sold by Amgen as NPlate, that received FDA approval for treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) in August, 2008. Some consider ITP a rare disease, and