Category: Epidemiology

Go ahead, have that coffee

Coffee drinkers, rejoice. A new paper shows positive associations between consumption and an array of health outcomes.

/ November 30, 2017

Why do some women refuse treatments for their breast cancer?

Adjuvant therapy after surgery, such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation therapy, has contributed to a 39% decrease in breast cancer mortality since 1989. Unfortunately, a significant number of women decline evidence-based adjuvant therapy. A recent study suggests that distrust of the medical system plays a significant role in such refusal.

/ November 13, 2017

The influenza vaccine and miscarriages: Much ado about nothing

A study published on Wednesday claims to have found a link between influenza vaccination and miscarriage, and antivaxers are gloating. The study itself suffers mightily from post hoc subgroup analyses on small numbers, so much so that even its authors don’t really believe its results. None of that stopped them from publishing the study, thus justifying "more research" that will almost certainly...

/ September 15, 2017

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients

By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A...

/ August 14, 2017

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. promotes an awful epidemiology study linking vaccines and neurological conditions from…Yale?

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has never seen a lousy study linking vaccines to bad things that he didn't like. This is no exception. Oddly enough, this study was funded and carried out by a lawyer and an investment banker, with the help of an eminent Yale pediatrician. Of course, the study doesn't show what RFK Jr. thinks it shows.

/ February 12, 2017

Is Ageing a Disease That Can Be Cured?

There is an ongoing debate that has come to the fore recently about the ultimate limits of human longevity. The ultimate goal of medicine is to optimize health, with the result of maximizing the duration and quality of life. This is accomplished through health promotion, disease prevention, and disease treatment. There is no question that this approach has increased life expectancy, which...

/ October 19, 2016

Infectious Diseases and Cancer

With apologies to my colleagues, but infectious diseases really is the most interesting specialty in medicine. There are innumerable interesting associations and interactions of infectious diseases in medicine, history, art, science, and, well, life, the universe and everything. ID is so 42. A recent email led me to wander the numerous interactions between infections and cancer. There are the cancers that are...

/ September 30, 2016

Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view

Yes, diet and exercise can be useful to prevent some cancers. Unfortunately, they don't prevent all cancers, and the effect size is more modest than often represented. That's not to say that eating right and exercise aren't good. They are, for so many other reasons than cancer. Just don't view them as a panacea for preventing cancer.

/ September 19, 2016

Does acetaminophen during pregnancy raise the risk of behaviour problems?

In my career as a pharmacist I’ve answered a lot of questions about medication use in pregnancy. Pharmacists are among the most accessible health professionals, and we’re usually found near a wall of medicines and supplements.  Many don’t trust Dr. Google, and for good reason: There are conflicting answers online. When it comes to medication use in pregnancy and effects on the...

/ August 18, 2016

Confusing overdiagnosis for an “epidemic” of thyroid cancer in Japan after Fukushima

One of my favorite topics to blog about for SBM is the topic of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. These are two interrelated phenomena that most people are blissfully unaware of. Unfortunately, I’d also say that the majority of physicians are only marginally more aware than the public about these confounders of screening programs, if even that. Overdiagnosis has long been appreciated to be...

/ March 14, 2016