Junkfood Science: Grand Rounds - the latest edition

August 28, 2007

Grand Rounds - the latest edition

The latest edition of Medical Grand Rounds is up at Improbable Optimism, with the top thirty medical articles on the blog (with extras in a second cut). It’s an unusually enlightened edition.

This week's theme is Narrative Medicine, pioneered by Rita Charon, an internist and professor at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons. Narrative medicine isn’t some new age medical modality. It trains doctors and other caregivers to listen to their patients so that they can give better care.

Junkfood Science readers may find Mary's posts especially helpful. Mary, a psychiatric social worker, shared her anxieties about going to the doctor, even though her doctor is a “fat friendly” one. [That’s a term for doctors who understand weight issues and treat patients’ medical conditions without weight bias. They’re unlike the ones who tell every fat person to “just lose weight.”]

Mary found herself suffering the same symptoms her mother had at her age. Back then, her mother’s doctor had dismissed her and told her that her lung problems were simply because she was fat. Even though Mary knew her severe symptoms had nothing to do with being fat, the thought of going to the doctor still brought fears of humiliation and shame. There’s a happy ending, though, in a later post when her doctor came through for her. He proved to be the fat friendly doctor she always knew him to be and took care of her symptoms. She was amazed when "he said things no doctor has ever said before as far as I can tell from personal experience, media and the fatosphere: ‘Weight is only a very minor risk factor for heart disease.’"

Under the chapter, “Number Crunching,” Grand Rounds featured the recent “rigorous challenge to popular interpretations of data about bariatric surgery” from Junkfood Science.

Med Journal Watch was also alarmed by the misuse of statistics in this clinical trial. His post about the art of lying with statistics explained how the Swedish researchers were able to create a 30% reduction in mortality out of 1.3%. “Thirty percent...sounds impressive if we are not aware that this figure comes out of a statistical microscope....”

Among the other articles, see if you can find where “Sanity is madness put to good use.”

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