Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of Clinical research

New podcast from the Institute of Clinical Research

The Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) have today launched a new monthly podcast, which looks at news from the world of clinical research, and I'm delighted to say that I was a co-presenter of the first episode, along with Andrew Smith from the ICR.

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Should we all take a daily dose of aspirin?

The lead item on the news on Radio 4 when I woke up this morning was a paper that has just been published in the Lancet on the effects of daily aspirin use on cancer deaths. This was presented as a major new piece of research that might mean we should all be taking aspirin every day.

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Worrying scientific illiteracy among our elected representatives

Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, I have just found out (via @bengoldacre and @DrEvanHarris) that one of our esteemed elected representatives, David Tredinnick MP, has tabled 3 Early Day Motions singing the praises of homoeopathy.

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Open access publishing

Yesterday's big health story was the news that 5 portions of fruit and veg per day probably doesn't have much of an impact on cutting your cancer risk after all. As regular readers of this blog will know, I don't much like taking such stories at face value, and always prefer to read the original research. Quite often, that shows that the headlines in the popular media are at best incomplete and at worst downright misleading, as we saw only the other day with the hideously misleading stories about breast cancer screening.

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Breast cancer screening and peer review

I've been thinking some more about the paper on breast cancer screening that I blogged about last week.

Just to recap, a paper was published last week claiming that the benefits of breast cancer screening comfortably outweigh the harms. This paper was picked up by the media, who reported its conclusions almost entirely without any critical evaluation, simply taking the authors conclusions as established fact.

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Breast cancer screening part 2

I blogged yesterday about how a story about the latest research in breast cancer screening had hit the news, even though the research had not yet been published. I noticed later in the day that there were huge numbers of tweets about the study on Twitter, almost all of which seemed to say that it had now been "proven" that breast cancer screening did more good than harm. It's disappointing to see so many people uncritically believing what they hear in the media.

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Breast cancer screening

When I listened to the news on the radio this morning, the lead story was about a "major new study" that had found that breast cancer screening does more good than harm.

It's an important question. There are certainly women who are alive today who would not have been alive today if their cancers had not been detected via breast screening. Screening save lives, and that's undeniably a good thing.

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Evidence based footcare

I'm training for a marathon at the moment (and it's in aid of Cancer Research UK, which is an excellent cause, so please sponsor me here), and all the running has given me some nasty blisters on my feet.

So I went to see a podiatrist yesterday to try to make sure that the blisters are under control in time for the big day. She put a dressing on which seemed to make my blisters pain free on my run this morning, which is a good start.

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Facebook does not give you syphilis

There is a beautiful aria in Rossini's opera "The Barber of Seville" called "La calunnia รจ un venticello". Watch it on YouTube here if you don't know it. It tells of how easy it is to start a rumour very gently and for the rumour then to take on a life of its own and get totally out of control.

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CDISC protocol representation model released

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I was quite excited when the draft of the CDISC protocol representation model (PRM) was released last year. I am delighted to be able to tell you that the final version of the model was released last month. Again, I am quite excited.

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