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Category: NEJM

Phase 3 data on BRAF and MEK combos for melanoma

Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

We have previously reported on Phase 2 data indicating that the combination of a BRAF and MEK inhibitor drug Read more »

The NEJM editorial board blew it on anti-quarantine Ebola essay

DrazenOctober 28, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

Jeffrey Drazen and the other editors of the New England Journal of Medicine rushed out an opinion essay to criticize the decisions made by state governors to mandate a 21-day quarantine of healthcare providers returning to the United States from African Ebola hotspots. Their logic was Read more »

A proposal to make the Social History more robust and proactive

October 2, 2014 Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Joseph Rhatigan, MD of Harvard Medical School published a paper in the NEJM proposing was to enhance the current social history section of the H&P. He explains how factors currently ignored by doctors, such as income and living conditions, are important to the compliance of the patient. The new ACA law might also make it financially rewarding for doctors to pay more attention to these issues.

Atul Gawande’s surgical checklist fails in real world study

March 15, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

In 2009, Atul Gawande, MD, MPH and his large international team published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) an observational study that showed a significant reduction of death and “complications” after non-cardiac surgery. The World Health Organization (WHO) created the checklist used in the NEJM paper. After this non-randomized, non-controlled, observational study was published, entire nations adopted the surgical checklist system.

Now, in 2014, a population study drawing from Ontario surgical patient data, published in the NEJM, showed no significant benefit from the widespread adoption of the same WHO surgical safety checklist that Dr. Gawande popularized. This study was also observational, but it was stronger than the 2009 Gawande study in that it included the entire population within a region.

What went wrong? Read more »

NEJM letter casts doubt on original Gawande checklist paper

June 11, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD

When the recent Canadian studied published in the NEJM failed to show any benefit from the WHO surgical checklist championed by Atul Gawande, The Healthcare Channel pointed out that the original Gawande paper was possibly the problem. It was designed poorly, and collected data from non-U.S. countries with little oversight.

Now, in the current online NEJM, letters to the editor are coming in. One writer echoes our concerns about the original Gawande paper. Read more »

The Massachusetts General trauma response to the Boston bombings

Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Paul Biddinger, MD, Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness, Massachusetts General Hospital and also Chairman of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Committee on Preparedness, discusses how his hospital, and all of Boston, responded to the several hundred severely injured patients after the Boston terrorist bombs. Lesson from the battlefield helped saves lives, as did the fact that Boston possibly has more Level 1 trauma centers than any other city in the world.

Erick Turner, MD: Selective publication of positive trials on antidepressants

Interviewed and produced by Steven Greer, MD

Erick Turner, MD, psychiatrist at Oregon Health and Science University and former FDA medical officer reviewing psychotropic drugs, discusses his new England Journal of Medicine paper on the problem of selectively publishing only the positive trials on antidepressants and the failure of drug companies to publish the negative trials, thus skewing the body of literature.


Has the ACA law begun to reduce the uninsured, and at what cost?

July 27, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Ben Sommers, MD PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health has a new article in the NEJM that attempts to quantify the total number of uninsured people in the country, and map it out temporally to show whether the newly implemented Obamacare law is working as intended.

Celiac disease is not reduced by breast feeding or delaying the introduction of gluten

October 19, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer, MD

Alessio Fasano, MD of Harvard discusses his 10-year-long study in children testing whether the delayed introduction of gluten into the diet reduced the eventual incidence of celiac disease. Dr. Fasano is most responsible for raising awareness of gluten intolerance after his 2003 NEJM and Archives of Internal Medicine papers were published.

Long-term contraception is effective and underutilized

October 1, 2014- Interviewed by Steven E. Greer

Jeffrey F. Peipert, M.D., Ph.D. of Washington university discusses his original article in the NEJM that studied a large cohort of young females who were given free long-term birth control. The results were a dramatically lower incidence of birth and unwanted pregnancies compared to the overall population. He then discusses why the effective contraception methods are underutilized.

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