Posts by: Lucian Sandor

PhD candidate at BUSM.

unknown unknowns

Heard in a Coursera class: research should address the gap between the known and the unknown. I was under the impression that research should look at the unknown, at least because tertium non datur and studying the known is really low among funding priorities. I kept thinking for a few minutes what could be that […]

Mammography quackerism

While on the hallways of BU School of Medicine (waiting is one of the privileges of a PhD candidate), I happened upon handouts from the med school DRx class. BU students are told that mammograms are recommended yearly, starting from the age of 40. Now, US Preventive Task Force recommends starting at 50, similar to […]

Stats 101

From a paper that seems shoddier than I thought: “Abc neutralizing antibody does not reduce the number of XYZ-positive colonies in the assays shown in G; n = 3.” The only thing can be proven after as few as three measurements is the sainthood in the Catholic Church.

“price effective” fun

Ophtalmology just published a cost-effectiveness comparison for treating diabetic macular edema comparing {ranibizumab + laser}, {triamcinolone + laser} and laser alone. Authors’ mathematical simulation shows that eyesight is better preserved for the same money when ranibizumab (brand name Lucentis) is used rather than the cheap, generic triamcinolone. The elephant in the room is of course […]

PSA is resuscitated briefly

A study in today’s NEJM shows that early cancer may benefit from surgery. However, PSA makes an unwelcome addition to the study. Somehow, the fact that the study participants had to be “diagnosed” through PSA screening may be interpreted as evidence that this study supports PSA screening. After reading this and the preceding paper, I […]

One more nail into the coffin of indiscriminate mammography

Comparing the incidence of breast cancer deaths among Swedish counties, Autier and colleagues found that there was no advantage for those who got on the bandwagon of mammography screening early on, sometimes as early as 20 years before the sluggish. Swedish women have one of the best rates of taking the test, 85-95%. But from […]

evidence for Pap smear screening

Reading Should I Be Tested for Cancer?: Maybe Not and Here’s Why by HG Welch, I am surprised to learn that nobody bothered with a randomized trial of the Pap test as screening.

Paul Nurse on class

Melvyn Bragg did his best to carry his charms from BC Radio 4 to the other medium, the TV, and for the most part, he succeeded. When the program started (must be in UK to watch), I was apprehensive, thinking that I will be offered the same images from the BBC archives, documenting how UK […]

ActRIIB – and cancer?

An interesting factoid from a talk I have seen today: an ActRIIB antagonist slows down cancer cachexia and increases survival. Something else puzzles me. The two consequences have been linked for long. Cancer-induced muscle loss is a major cause of death, or so the generally-accepted wisdom goes. By this logic, anabolic steroids would be also […]

Hospital weekends

Another article (behind paywall) in the series “get sick only during regular business hours” show that in England admission over the weekend increases patient’s chance to die by about 10% compared with those admitted during business days. Data was validated on a set of 250 US hospitals, where they found a 20% increase in risk […]