Weekend Wonderings: I Can’t Believe It’s March

Written March 2nd, 2014 by Ken

thinking chimpWelcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings.  Despite what you see and feel outside, we are less than three weeks aways from Spring. Enjoy Winter while you can. Grab whatever beverage that you need and let’s proceed.

The James/Wexner

Well, this is interesting.. It seems that the BMJ (formerly) British Medical Journal published a study questioning the advisability of breast cancer screening via mammography, and to say the least, the report is being excoriated.

Women questioning the value of screening mammography based on a recent study published in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) should pause and look more closely at the data. Medical societies and breast cancer specialists across the nation agree: The data is flawed and misleading. There is no question that screening mammography saves lives.

There appear to be two huge flaws with the study. First, the study used obsolete scanning devices and the staff was not properly trained in the procedure. The second was, for a supposed randomized sampling, the test subjects were assigned to “test” and “control” groups in a non-randomized manner. Both of these errors are show-stoppers. I’d suspect that tBBC’s resident ‘lab rat’ (Eric) would not approve of these testing protocol shenanigans.

Next up, genetics!

“COLUMBUS, Ohio — A potential new gene mutation that might drive lung cancer development and growth has been identified by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James).

A multi-institutional team led by OSUCCC-James researchers reports the findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study describes a patient with advanced lung cancer who was treated with the targeted drug sorafenib while on a clinical trial.”

A couple of things, here. First, this is another example of not so much “root cause analysis” as “root cause determination”. Cancer in particular, is not a one-size-fits-all disease in regards to prevention/treatment. This is more excellent work by the James. My second point, directed to those folks who “did” the breast cancer-mammogram “study” above; this is how you conduct clinical trials. Read More

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