Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You gotta love it!!!

When I open medical news today, I read this headline
"Brain Differences Visible In Symptomless Carriers Of Alzheimer's Gene"

Sounds fantastic right? Well........
It turns out that the n on this study was 12...that's right. 12 patients with APOE e4 and 16 controls. To my friends at AlzMirror, this might be right up your ally. Buy an fMRI machine and blammo, Wharton School of Business winner all the way!

This finding needs serious rounds of replication. What were the confounding factors? Prior stroke? Cholesterol level? Amyloid burden..........etc.

They scanned these patients and in the ApoE e4 carriers they found reduced connections......
No mention of statistically significant findings mind you. Just a finding. Why it leads Medical News Today, I have no clue. It is, frankly, a finding and should never lead a site of that quality. Which is why, I have to say....they need some more sites which could actually properly rate articles and findings reported.

If you look at the article. 1 person rated it 5 stars. I doubt it was a physician. At least I hope not. IMHO this article is a 1-2 star article. I wonder why their isn't a better way to report this stuff and have it pushed down or up the list according to scientific merit and relevance. It shoudl be done at an hourly rate....and not be ranked until at least 5 people have voted. How's that for scientifically valid???

The Sherpa Says:
With articles like this and no counter point...it certainly makes the public easy pickins for bogus over hyped, over marketed, "healthcare" companies....... Especially given the lack of health literacy out there. 40% give or take 10% in the worse.


Deepak said...

Was this published in a journal? IMO this article is worth < 1 star. That sample does not a study make, and here we worry about 3000 not being a big enough sample

Steve Murphy MD said...

This is why I warn everyone when commenting on stuff that was presented at a meeting.....i.e. too data poor to be published, but notable.....

I can't believe this led on that website. All the journalist wonks read that site. Quite often this first post is listed on sites like reuters, CNN, FoxNews, CBS, NBC, BBC, etc......