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Archive for July, 2011

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July 16th, 2011

Podcast 126: Placebos and Medical ‘Meaning’

Last week’s New England Journal of Medicine paper on the placebo effect in evaluating asthma treatments was fascinating in itself. The editorial that accompanied it, however, was a delight. It asks clinicians to think less about laboratory measures of cure, and more about the patient’s satisfaction with treatment — whether the treatment was “real” […]


July 8th, 2011

Podcast 125: The smoking-cessation drug varenicline poses some difficult tradeoffs.

There is a new meta-analysis from the Canadian Medical Association Journal that finds increased risks among smokers trying to quit and taking varenicline (Chantix). Among smokers with stable cardiovascular disease, the number needed to treat to cause an adverse cardiovascular event is about 30, yet the number needed to treat to achieve smoking cessation […]


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