Friday, September 12, 2008

Cardiologists are Supposed to Be Smart

Cardiologists, who are among the brainiest of medical specialists, appear to have put their neurons on “pause” when it comes to conflict of interest. Roy Poses over at Health Care Renewal reviews Dr. Anthony Demaria's editorial defending industry funding of CME. Dr. Poses bats down the usual arguments in favor of commercial funding (doctors are too smart to be fooled, full disclosure solves everything etc...) and then reveals that Dr. Demaria, who believes that disclosure is a panacea, forgot to make his own disclosures. He's on the advisory board of a couple of companies, and is on the board of directors of Biosite.

But it gets even worse for the reputation of cardiologists. In another recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the president of the ACC, W. Douglas Weaver, wrote a clone of Dr. Demaria's editorial called "Disclosures, Transparency, and Firewalls Protect Integrity." But guess who forgot to disclose his own conflicts of interest? Poor form, Mr. President.

By the way, cardiologists pull in an average of $270,000/year. But according to Dr. Demaria, they are still too poor to pay for their own education: "In addition, it is not clear how or if the financial support for CME provided by industry could be replaced. Without these funds, important opportunities to increase knowledge might be unavailable to busy clinicians, thereby denying their patients the benefits of this learning."

A bake sale for cardiologists, anyone?


Anonymous said...

Oh, my! How am I supposed to survive on my less than $40k per year as a music teacher? And I have to pay for my own continuing education? Get real doctors.....

Unknown said...

just a minor point. Biosite's board of directors was disbanded when the company was purchased in 2007.

Anonymous said...

You're kidding, right? Cardiologists are the brainiest?

Then why do they, as a body, consistently fail to recognize the importance to heart health of "simple" vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and magnesium? Why are they hyperfocused on getting down cholesterol, failing to see that cholesterol plays a role in brain health?

No, I don't see this field as "brainy" at all. I see them totally focused on the numbers (cholesterol, etc.) and failing utterly to see the big picture of whole-body-and-brain health.

As an aside, perhaps if Dick Cheney's cardiologists had better understood the dangers of treating heart patients without understanding treatment's negative effect on brain function (often pushing into depression), we wouldn't have had a depressive-paranoid dictating our foreign policy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can organize a benefit concert with Willie Nelson and Stephen Stills, if they are still alive.