Medical

Many Medical Decision Tools Disadvantage Black Patients

Unbeknown to most patients, their race is incorporated into numerous medical decision-making tools and formulas that doctors consult to decide treatment for a range of conditions and services, including heart disease, cancer and maternity care, according to a new paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The unintended result, the paper concludes, has been to direct medical resources away from black patients and to deny some black patients treatment options available to white patients.

The tools are often digital calculators on websites of medical organizations or — in the case of assessing kidney function — actually built into the tools commercial labs use to calculate normal values of blood tests. They assess risk and potential outcomes based on formulas derived from population studies and modeling that looked for variables associated with different outcomes.

“These tests are woven into the fabric of medicine,” said Dr. David Jones, the

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The Pandemic Claims New Victims: Prestigious Medical Journals

The data were immaculate, he noted. There were few missing variables: Race appeared to have been recorded for nearly everyone. So was weight. Smoking rates didn’t vary much between continents, nor did rates of hypertension.

“I got goose bumps reading it,” said Dr. Jüni, who is involved in clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine. “Nobody has complete data on all these variables. It’s impossible. You can’t.”

Both retracted studies were led by Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, a widely published and highly regarded professor of medicine at Harvard, and the medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

  • Updated June 12, 2020

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were

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Scientists Question Medical Data Used in Second Coronavirus Study

Since the outbreak began, researchers have rushed to publish research about the new coronavirus spreading swiftly through the world. On Tuesday, for the second time in recent days, a group of scientists has questioned the data used in studies in two prominent medical journals.

A group of scientists who raised questions last week about a study in The Lancet about the use of antimalarial drugs in coronavirus patients have now objected to another paper about blood pressure medicines in the New England Journal of Medicine, which was published by some of the same authors and relied on the same data registry.

Moments after their open letter was posted online Tuesday morning, the editors of the N.E.J.M. posted an “expression of concern” about the paper, and said they had asked the paper’s authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable.

The Lancet followed later in the day with a statement

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Medical Workers Should Use Respirator Masks, Not Surgical Masks

A new analysis of 172 studies, funded by the World Health Organization, confirms what scientists have said for months: N95 and other respirator masks are far superior to surgical or cloth masks in protecting essential medical workers against the coronavirus.

The results, published on Monday in The Lancet, make it clear that the W.H.O. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should recommend that essential workers like nurses and emergency responders wear N95 masks, not just surgical masks, experts said.

“It’s been disappointing that both the W.H.O. and the C.D.C. have suggested that surgical masks are adequate, and they’re clearly not,” said David Michaels, a professor at George Washington University who headed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under President Obama.

“Reliance on surgical masks has no doubt led to many workers being infected,” he said.

N95 masks offered 96 percent protection, the analysis found, while the figure for

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