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BackPage Online, November 2018

doi: 10.1097/01.BACK.0000547567.36846.4e
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MDs Ill-Equipped to Deal With the Opioid Epidemic—Due to Inadequate Training in Addiction Medicine and Addiction Services

A New York Times article by Jan Hoffman offers eloquent testimony on the difficulties MDs face in managing patients with opioid addiction problems.

Few have been trained extensively in addiction management. And there has been only modest progress in increasing the number of training programs across the country.

One expert in the article offered an evocative explanation. “Dr. Timothy Brennan, who directs an addiction medicine fellowship at Mt. Sinai, said that combating the crisis with this provider work force is “like trying to fight World War II with only the Coast Guard.”

Here is the web address of the full article:

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Time to Police Conflict-of-Interest Disclosures More Carefully?

The spine field is rife with financial conflicts of interest among device makers, drug manufacturers, and physicians. Most major medical journals, along with the US Sunshine Act, require disclosure of significant conflicts-of-interest. However, a recent study suggests that nearly two-thirds of the 100 physicians who rake in the most money from device manufacturers failed to adequately disclose financial relationships. An article at Kaiser Health News analyzed this evidence and suggested a variety of solutions—including universal disclosure forms.


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An Incomplete Story on Spinal Cord Stimulation

Journalists face major challenges in reporting on complicated spinal treatment approaches. And writers who have to describe their own spinal treatments for serious illnesses face additional hurdles. Here is a case in point: an overly enthusiastic and unbalanced article on the risks and benefits of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for intractable chronic back pain—by a woman who apparently experienced significant pain relief from SCS. The article recently received a highly critical review at the prominent health journalism website

Here is the original article at Popular Science:

Here is an abbreviated version at the Washington Post:

And here is a critical review of the Washington Post version at

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