Mind the Brain

How to get a flawed systematic review and meta-analysis withdrawn from publication: a detailed example

Cochrane normally requires authors to agree to withdraw completed reviews that have been published. This withdrawal in the face of resistance from the authors is extraordinary. There is a lot to be learned from this letter and the accompanying documents in terms of Courtney calmly and methodically laying out a compelling case for withdrawal of a review with important clinical practice and policy implications.

Lessons we need to learn from a Lancet Psychiatry study of the association between exercise and mental health

The closer we look at a heavily promoted study of exercise and mental health, the more its flaws become obvious. There is little support for the most basic claims being made – despite the authors marshaling enormous attention to the study.

Headspace mindfulness training app no better than a fake mindfulness procedure for improving critical thinking, open-mindedness, and well-being.

The Headspace app increased users’ critical thinking and being open-minded. So did practicing a shame mindfulness procedure- participants simply sat with their eyes closed, but thought they were meditating.

‘Replace male doctors with female ones and save at least 32,000 lives each year’?

The authors of a recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine “Physician Gender and Outcomes of Hospitalized Medicare Beneficiaries in the U.S.,” Yusuke Tsugawa, Anupam B. Jena, Jose F. Figueroa, E. John Orav, Daniel M. Blumenthal, Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH1,2,8, JAMA Internal Medicine, online December 19, 2016, doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7875 Stirred lots of attention in the media … Continue reading "‘Replace male doctors with female ones and save at least 32,000 lives each year’?"

An open-minded, skeptical look at the success of “zero suicides”: Any evidence beyond the rhetoric?

Claims are spreading across social media that a goal of zero suicides can be achieved by radically re-organizing resources in health systems and communities. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I thoroughly searched for evidence backing claims of “zero suicides” being achieved. The claims came up short, after expectations were initially raised by some statistics and … Continue reading "An open-minded, skeptical look at the success of “zero suicides”: Any evidence beyond the rhetoric?"

Relaxing vs Stimulating Acupressure for Fatigue Among Breast Cancer Patients: Lessons to be Learned

A chance to test your rules of thumb for quickly evaluating clinical trials of alternative or integrative  medicine in prestigious journals. A chance to increase your understanding of the importance of  well-defined control groups and blinding in evaluating the risk of bias of clinical trials. A chance to understand the difference between merely evidence-based treatments … Continue reading "Relaxing vs Stimulating Acupressure for Fatigue Among Breast Cancer Patients: Lessons to be Learned"

Study protocol violations, outcomes switching, adverse events misreporting: A peek under the hood

An extraordinary, must-read article is now available open access: Jureidini, JN, Amsterdam, JD, McHenry, LB. The citalopram CIT-MD-18 pediatric depression trial: Deconstruction of medical ghostwriting, data mischaracterisation and academic malfeasance. International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 33-43, 2016 The authors had access to internal documents written with the … Continue reading "Study protocol violations, outcomes switching, adverse events misreporting: A peek under the hood"

Remission of suicidal ideation by magnetic seizure therapy? Neuro-nonsense in JAMA: Psychiatry

A recent article in JAMA: Psychiatry: Sun Y, Farzan F, Mulsant BH, Rajji TK, Fitzgerald PB, Barr MS, Downar J, Wong W, Blumberger DM, Daskalakis ZJ. Indicators for remission of suicidal ideation following magnetic seizure therapy in patients with treatment-resistant depression. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 16. Was accompanied by an editorial commentary: Camprodon JA, Pascual-Leone … Continue reading "Remission of suicidal ideation by magnetic seizure therapy? Neuro-nonsense in JAMA: Psychiatry"

Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?

Unwarranted claims that “modifiable” negative beliefs cause Alzheimer’s disease lead to blaming persons who develop Alzheimer’s disease for not having been more positive. Lesson: A source’s impressive credentials are no substitute for independent critical appraisal of what sounds like junk science and is. More lessons on how to protect yourself from dodgy claims in press … Continue reading "Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?"

Stalking a Cheshire cat: Figuring out what happened in a psychotherapy intervention trial

John Ioannidis, the “scourge of sloppy science”  has documented again and again that the safeguards being introduced into the biomedical literature against untrustworthy findings are usually ineffective. In Ioannidis’ most recent report , his group: …Assessed the current status of reproducibility and transparency addressing these indicators in a random sample of 441 biomedical journal articles … Continue reading "Stalking a Cheshire cat: Figuring out what happened in a psychotherapy intervention trial"