medicine

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You have to move fast these days to keep up with the flu. Or outrun it. A quick roundup from the last 24: From the invaluable H5N1: Mexico: 4,000 H1N1 cases in 7 days Spain: 31,322 cases and 6 deaths in one week US: 15 states could run out of hospital beds Scotland sees it…

Misdiagnosing the live and the dead

“One in six patients ‘wrongly diagnosed by NHS doctors’,” shouts the Daily Mail (via EvidenceMatters. This should not surprise us: Autopsies have been finding a similar percentage of misdiagnosis among the dead for decades. Doctors will always miss some diagnoses. Progress is a matter of ever narrowing the list of things doctors miss — so…

photo: Philip Todeldano for the New York Times Part of any real healthcare reform will be improving practices in hospitals, and — as Obama’s proposed commission on comparative effectiveness would do — identifying what works and what doesn’t. Knowing what works and why people get better or not is vital to good medicine. But amid…

[note: addition/corrections at bottom added an hour after orig post. additions underlined. deletions struckthrough. See *] Meet the meta-placebo: A new study suggests that ADHD meds do much of their work by producing placebo effects — and more constructive behavior — among the parents, teachers, and other caretakers of the kids actually taking the meds.…

A New York Times piece by Atul Gawande gives some good news and bad news about a life-saving checklist developed to prevent fatal infections in intensive care units. The good news: A year ago, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published the results of a program that instituted in nearly every intensive care unit in Michigan…