September 25, 2010
Early detection of breast cancer improves the odds of survival; mammograms save lives, and annual exams are essential for women over 40. That has been accepted wisdom for the last 20 years, and until recently, results seemed to confirm its truth. Since regular screening became standard in the 1990s, the mortality rate for breast cancer has dropped 30% in the United States. That conventional wisdom was challenged last year when a federal task force suggested that women 50 and over should have mammograms only once every other year and that younger women need not bother at all. Now a Norwegian study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has set off another round of controversy by suggesting that the benefits of mammography are exceedingly modest.
January 28, 2010 |
Vaccines that protect against severe disease and death from rotavirus infections in the United States and other developed countries work nearly as well in developing countries and should be widely employed there, researchers report today in two papers in the New England Journal of Medicine. Health authorities now have "another powerful weapon" to combat the disease, Dr. Mathuram Santosham of Johns Hopkins University wrote in an editorial accompanying the studies. Widespread use of the vaccines could save more than 2 million lives over the next decade, he said.
March 19, 2009 |
Whether to screen men for prostate cancer has been a controversial topic for at least 20 years. Many clinicians have believed that finding a tumor early and cutting it out is the best possible way to treat prostate cancer, just as it is for most tumors. Critics of the screening have argued that many prostate tumors grow so slowly that the patient is likely to die of other causes before the tumor becomes a threat.
December 10, 2005 |
Jurors continued deliberating Friday in the latest Vioxx trial as some legal experts said Merck & Co.'s defense against thousands of similar lawsuits would be hurt by an accusation that company scientists had downplayed the pain reliever's heart attack risk. A rare "expression of concern" posted online Thursday by New England Journal of Medicine editors chastised Merck scientists for failing to report three nonfatal heart attacks among Vioxx users who were at low risk of cardiac problems.
August 9, 2004 |
For more than a decade, physician Marcia Angell served as executive editor and then editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the country's most prestigious medical journals. Under her watch, the journal published hundreds of studies of new drugs. It also published blunt editorials harshly critical of the pharmaceutical industry and the way drugs are tested and approved in the United States.
June 1, 2000 |
The newly appointed editor of the New England Journal of Medicine is pledging to divest any interest he has in pharmaceutical companies in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest. Dr. Jeffrey Drazen also said he might have made a mistake last year when he heaped praise on an asthma drug that was made by a company he was working for as a paid consultant. "We were probably a little overzealous," Drazen told the Boston Herald on Tuesday. "In the future, we'll be more careful."