Daily Rounds: Pharmacy Oversight Failures; Overdiagnosed Breast Cancer; Einstein’s Brain Revealed

Oversight Failures Documented In Meningitis Outbreak (The New York Times) — “Newly released documents add vivid detail to the emerging portrait of the Food and Drug Administration’s ineffective and halting efforts to regulate a Massachusetts company implicated in a national meningitis outbreak that has sickened nearly 500 people and killed 34. In the documents, released on Tuesday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the agency would threaten to bring the full force of its authority down on the company, only to back away, citing lack of jurisdiction. The company, the New England Compounding Center, at times cooperated with F.D.A. inspectors and promised to improve its procedures, and at other times challenged the agency’s legal authority to regulate it, refused to provide records and continued to ship a drug in defiance of the agency’s concerns.”

One million women ‘overdiagnosed’ with breast cancer due to mammograms, controversial study suggests (Boston.com) — “Researchers estimated…that mammograms caused more than 1 million American women over the past three decades to be diagnosed with early-stage breast cancers that would not have proved fatal if left undetected and untreated — a controversial finding sure to provoke more heated debate over the benefits of the screenings. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that these women were “overdiagnosed” and “overtreated” because there was not a corresponding decline in the diagnosis of tough-to-cure breast cancers that have already spread. The authors said mammography has saved few lives.”

Scientists Get A New Look At Einstein’s Brain (NPR) — ‘So what did they find? Well, they analyzed 14 of these photographs and compared the visible parts of Einstein’s outer brain with 85 human brains previously described in scientific studies. “Einstein’s brain differs from the average human brain,” says Falk. “In various parts, it’s more convoluted. It’s bumpier, and that may be related to an increase in the neurons.” The museum released an iPad app to view the slides back in September. Witelson says the new analysis and photos may encourage other scientists to take a crack at Einstein’s brain. “Einstein’s aura lives on,” she says.’

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.