Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reducing potential bias in industry-funded nutrition research. My Letter to the Editor:

Reducing potential bias in industry-funded nutrition research -- Lesser 90 (3): 699 -- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

In the above article I point out the fault in previously published guidelines on nutrition industry - research interactions. Instead of the industry policing themselves with guidelines, I argue that the journal editors should make and enforce policies on industry collaboration in nutrition research.

I cite several policies by other medical journals that the nutrition journals could adopt to increase the integrity of nutrition research.

The response to my letter was from Mr. Hentges. He side stepped most of the issues I brought up. He could not defend his group's initial argument that industry is more likely to have better results in their research. He also did not respond to my idea of stricter journal editorial policies.

However, he did agree with me that increased full disclosure of conflicts of interest would benefit research. But, he did not further back up this claim with action. His own conflict of interest statement states that he is the director of ILSI supported by North America "industry membership." Full disclosure would mean stating all the food industries that ILSI is funded by. Surely readers might want to know if he is funded by Coca Cola, Kraft, and the other food giants. These details used to be on their website, but I could no longer find it.

I will continue to view industry-funded nutrition research skeptically. You should to. Now it is time for journal editors to reform their policies.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Support the American Health Plan:

The solution to the villainous control of health by insurance companies

YouTube - How Dems Are Failing to Sell Health Care Reform - George Lakoff

We need to start talking about how insurance companies and HMOs have harmed the care of many of our family members and friends. The American Plan, proposed by Obama and the Democrats will guarantee every American the right to see their doctor. It will put health back in the hands of Americans and their doctors and nurses. Are you for or against the American Plan? If you are for it, you better call your representative and Senator. If not, the evil insurance companies will win again.

We need to start talking differently about health care. NOW.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Doctors Need to be involved in the Health Care Debate:

Politicians don't know what they are talking about.

I'm following this debate about end-of-life care in the news. Basically, there is a provision in the House bill that adds Medicare coverage for you if you want to go to your doctor and discuss end-of-life care. My research shows it's a good idea to talk to your doctor while you are healthy, to discuss what types of medical interventions you would want if you became seriously ill.

Great idea! Right? Except it is blown into a conservative message of "the government is trying to kill you." The problem is the Democrats do not know how to defend it because they do not really understand the issue. Even Obama fumbled with it.

As physicians, we care about choice and honoring patients personal wishes. Often what happens is that people end up attached to tubes, never having the discussion with their doctor. The default is to keep them attached to tubes and sedated. Then the decision is put on the family to decide what to do with their elderly parent.

The idea of this provision is to have the doctor know ahead of time what the patient would want, so the decision is easier later on.

Honestly, it is discussion that should happen more. Maybe it doesn't happen because Medicare does not pay for that type of discussion. Thus, paying for these sessions is a good idea.

This exemplifies why doctor's need to be in this debate: to give the real story of what is happening every day. Obama should find doctor's and have them out on the road speaking for this reform. I'm not sure he is capable of it himself. So get involved doctors:

Debate Continues Around End-Of-Life Care - Kaiser Health News