Katie Couric: “Evidence Based Medicine, Who Cares. My Evidence is Jenny McCarthy.”

I am sure many of you have seen the stories, posts, article, etc. about Katie Couric’s abysmal understanding of HPV vaccination and her complete failure to address the evidence. I have linked to five articles on this topic. Please link to these or Tweet links to them so we can raise awareness for this reckless and selfish act on her part all in the name of improving her Q Score.

Her FB page has no place to leave a comment but it does have a place to ask Katie a question. I asked her if she knows what evidence based medicine is? You could do that too.

Respectful Insolence has the following post “Katie Couric on the HPV vaccine: Antivaccine or irresponsible journalist? You be the judge!” This is a long well referenced piece and the answer is clear even before you read word one. She is pandering to a fringe audience to raise her Q Score.

David Kroll contributor at Forbes “ Katie Couric and Cervical Cancer Prevention with the HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix” This is an excellent overview of the topic on HPV and cancer.

A two-dose regimen also has significant implications for preventing HPV-triggered cancers worldwide, especially in regions with poor access to sustained healthcare. Worldwide, 500,000 women are diagnosed each year with cervical cancer alone, and 250,000 will die of their disease.

Matthew Herper on the Forbes Staff “Four Ways Katie Couric Stacked the Deck Against Gardasil”. Great deconstruction of what Couric did and why it was so wrong.

But deaths – including deaths by seizures or unexplained causes – do occur for all sorts of reasons, without explanation, and just because a death happened 18 days after a vaccine was given, as in the example on Katie’s show, does not mean the vaccine caused it. So far, investigations trying to link Gardasil and Cervarix to serious side effects have come up empty.

Emily Willngham Contributor at Forbes “Katie Couric Promotes Anticancer Vaccine Alarmism“. This is a good analysis of Couric who has worked tirelessly to help prevent death from colon cancer. Willingham closes with the following:

Lives may well have been saved (colonoscopies) because of her name recognition and promotion. What will the balance become, I have to wonder, now that she has used her profile instead in ways that may very well influence parents to opt out of a life-saving anti-cancer vaccine for their children?

Alexandra Sifferlin writing on Time.com “Is Katie Couric The Next Jenny McCarthy?” The subhead on this sums it up well “A former Playboy Bunny spreading misinformation is bad enough”. We have just found a respected journalist or on air personality French kissing Jenny McCarthy…. ewwwww. gross on so many level. 

Notes & Links: August 19, 2013

iPad Applications in the Healthcare Industry: Fad or Future?

Todd Riddle posting to Healthworks Collective takes a look at apps on the iPad and its utility for both patient and HCP. There has been a huge growth of iPad apps in healthcare albeit slower due to legal, medical, and patient issues. But it is changing rapidly and growing. Riddle quotes data that states by 2015 there will be 500 million smartphone users accessing healthcare application. Pretty impressive. 

Advantages of iPad healthcare apps

  • Patient safety
  • Easy access to information
  • Increases efficiency
  • Minimizes costs
  • Effective use of audio, video, visual communications modes


  • Not always accurate and consistent (I believe we need to expect studies on apps and outcomes
  • Security and confidentiality 
  • Regulatory challenges

Top iPad healthcare applications

  • Medscape
  • MedPage Today Mobile
  • Radiology 2.0: One Night in the ED
  • Calculate by QxMD

 Riddle concludes with

Since healthcare apps are extremely sensitive, it is developer’s responsibility to rigorously test app. Quality compromises could be costly. It is equally important that user conducts a thorough due diligence of app such as checking developer’s bio, user feedback, and its reputation on the net before actually installing/using it. 

Jenny McCarthy and the Selling of e-Cigarettes

Orac on ScienceBlogs points out Jenny McCarthy is now hocking blu eCigs. Now this is the same Jenny McCarthy who is anti vaccine since it is an unproven cause of autism. Let’s think about this. No evidence based proof of the link between vaccinations and autism but there are clear causative data about tobacco and disease. Orac goes into great detail to examine the data on eCigs and clearly we don’t know yet. 

Although short term studies of e-cigarettes appear not to have found any evidence of significant harms, there are currently no solid long term data regarding the effects of inhaling the vapors produced by e-cigarettes. A recent review concluded that the vapors are likely safe, but did so based on primarily on a review of chemical analyses of e-cigarette vapor. A more recent analysis finds some toxic chemicals in e-cigarette vapor butat much lower levels than in tobacco smoke. Again, however, there are no long term epidemiological or observational data in actual humans using e-cigarettes.

This is an excellent review of eCigs but more important how the hell can Jenny McCarthy do this while trashing vaccinations? 

What Americans Don’t Know About the Affordable Care Act

Danyell Jones posting to HealthWorks takes a look at where we as a nation stand with our knowledge of ACA and offers ways we can learn more and be better informed. 

There is the chart from Kaiser Family Foundation showing that country feels we will be worse off. 

Notes & Links: July 22, 2013

The Price Of The Autism-Measles Panic, 15 Years Later

We should send a thank you note to Jenny McCarthy for helping thin the herd. The final paragraph captures it well.

“As the Wales outbreak demonstrates, though, it takes more than parents. It also takes people–scientists and journalists–willing to use sensationalism to drum up readership and attention and money and to sideline public health in the process. And unfortunately, we have yet to develop a vaccine against simple human venality.”

The Affordable Care Act Will Fail Without Patient Engagement”

This is a thoughtful and well measured analysis of the ACA, Patient Engagement, and cost. Adrian Gropper, MD makes the following point which I see as yet another reason to engage patients in their care. It is time to  put patient centric first. 

The path to health reform in the age of unlimited connectivity and mobility cannot continue to bypass the patient. EHRs are an institutional tool and they are unlikely to be either the doctor’s or the patient’s lightsaber regardless how many federal regulations, certifications and billions of dollars we throw at them. 

The Office Visit Revisited

This is timely, important, and so spot on regarding the fact the office visit is not a drive by but part of a continuum of care. Dr. Lamberts says it well when he writes:

My care is no longer episodic, so why should my records be?  I no longer need “visits” as units of commerce, and no longer need “problems” as the goods for which I am paid.  This took me quite a while to figure out, and has me making some radical (crazy?) changes to how I think about care.

Read this if you want to where healthcare should be moving and why. It takes the EMR and makes it the narrative in the care. So well written and on point. 

Notes & Links July 16, 2013

Jenny, Jenny, oh Jenny

David Kroll has a wonderful piece in Forbes titled “Jenny McCarthy Is A Dangerous Medical Celebrity” As you can guess from the title is shakes the reality of allowing someone with “Mommy instincts” to present medical and scientific advice as if it was evidence based medicine. Clearly stating opinion vs. evidence is critical to helping learner acquire knowledge and make life critical decisions.

Giving McCarthy an unrestricted and highly-visible platform to continue her record of pseudoscience views on issues critical to child health is both irresponsible and dangerous.

We Know Cost Kills People

Cost Prevents People from Seeking Preventive Healthcare” is posted on HealthPopuli It reviews a TeleVox survey of over 1,015 US adults titled “A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans” 

Some of the data HealthPopuli pulls  

  • Only 1 in 3 people in he US have spoken with their personal doctors about their medical history and risk factors for diseases 
  • Only 33% have had cholesterol checks
  • In the past two years, only 26% of people have been screened for diabetes
  • She ends with:

Making prevention cool, beautiful, smart – whatever motivates the prevention-poor patient – is the must-do for health plans, providers, payors (employers, unions and government health insurance sponsors). And to do that requires asking people the very question: what will lead you to actually seek prevention.