Our latest study suggests that we may be diagnosing a LOT of people with acute kidney injury who don’t actually have it.

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a major killer in the US. At least, that’s what the data shows.  But a lot depends on how you diagnose AKI. Our latest study suggests that natural variation in lab measurement of creatinine is leading to strikingly high false-diagnosis rates, and that the association we see between AKI and bad outcomes like mortality may be an artifact of the fact that sicker people get more blood draws.

Take a look at our full paper here.

And if you want to run the simulation for yourself (and you have stata), you can get our code and relevant files here.

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“Association” is a biomedical weasel-word. Does low Vitamin D cause MS?

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I’ll admit I’m a bit of a vitamin D skeptic. Studies demonstrating that the wonder-vitamin can improve cognition, decrease the risk of colon cancer, and prevent heart disease are often observational in nature.  These associations are always confounded by sunlight exposure and diet – two factors which themselves are strongly associated with a variety of health outcomes. It’s no surprise that randomized trials of vitamin D supplementation have been less than impressive.

So a study, appearing in PLOS medicine, linking lower Vitamin D levels to the development of multiple sclerosis caught my eye.

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Does Addyi add up? A definitive take on flibanserin for Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder

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There’s a new drug on the market that is either A) the greatest revolution in women’s sexual health since oral contraceptives or B) a shining example of the FDA’s ineptitude when it comes to drug approval.

 

If you’ve watched TV, listened to the radio, or, basically, been awake at all for the past week, you’ve heard of the FDA-approved drug flibanserin, marketed as Addyi.

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Surrogate Outcomes – a Necessary Evil

Surrogate outcomes are becoming increasingly common in biomedical research.  They are also increasingly misinterpreted.  In this month’s Methods Man blog, I take an in-depth look at what makes surrogate markers tick.

For the full article, click here.

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Is there anything coffee can’t do?

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Coffee. It’s hard not to be biased when it comes to the ubiquitous drink. Many of us, myself included, depend on the stuff to start our day, continue our day, and give us something to do when we should otherwise be working. Studies linking coffee to better health get a lot of press. A few months ago, a big splash was made when a study linked coffee consumption to lower risk of melanoma (though they failed to account for sun exposure). Now, we have coffee staving off colon cancer.

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Soul food is bad for the heart

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What diet do you ascribe to?  If you answered “I have no idea what you mean”, then you can join the rest of the 80% of Americans who don’t follow a specified diet regime. Sure, lots of us try to avoid fat, or sugar, or meat, but when it comes to defining the health benefits of a particular dietary pattern, it’s hard to label people.

Now an article appearing in Circulation from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that a “Southern” style diet may significantly increase the risk of heart disease.

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The spice must flow: will chili powder extend your life?

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As a huge Frank Herbert fan, the opportunity to review an article linking consumption of a spice with longevity was just too good to pass up.  But this is not the spice melange, hailing from Arrakis, Dune, the Desert Planet. Unfortunately, today, we’re talking about chili powder.

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Solanezumab is not a breakthrough for Alzheimer’s patients.

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Is there a breakthrough drug, that, unlike currently available medications for Alzheimer’s disease – targets the disease itself, and not just the symptoms?  That’s what various news outlets are reporting after the publication of a study in the Journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia evaluated the anti-amyloid antibody solanezumab.

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A smoke-free discussion of confounding.

I wanted to talk about confounding in observational studies.  Early on, I made a promise to myself: the example I was going to use would not involve smoking, drinking and lung cancer.  The result?  A treatise on confounding using taco’s, mud runs, and zest for life.  Clearer?  Probably not.  But way more fun.

Take a look at the full post on medpagetoday.com here.

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Have we been giving kids juvenile idiopathic arthritis inadvertently?

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If you’ve ever taken care of a kid with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, it sticks with you.  This disease, which is occasionally referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, isn’t fatal, but it can rob children of the ability to be active, play, and grow – the real essence of childhood. And to date, we still don’t know what causes it.  It’s clearly auto-immune, but there isn’t even a serologic test for the disease.

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