Ghostwriters in the sky

For all the pseudo-scientific psychiatric, sociological and psychological follow-up studies done by agenda driven anti-SRS doctors or by people doing push surveys that require us to identify as transgender there have been damned few studies regarding the medical impact of long term hormone usage upon us.

We tend to operate on a basis of almost folk lore and accepted wisdom that we require massive amounts of hormones.  But what about someone in their 60s who has been on hormones for 40 years and is nearly that long post-SRS?  Women of that age are post-menopause.  We haven’t had testes for many, many years.  Maybe we don’t need the same high level of hormones we needed when we were younger?  Maybe we should go to a lower level?

Maybe we should be demanding some long term studies?  And not ghost written self serving drug ads from drug manufacturing corporations.

From Bad Science:

September 18th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 18 September 2010

If I tell you that Katie Price did not, necessarily, write her own book, this is not a revelation. From academics I have slightly higher expectations, but now the legal system has spat out another skip full of documents: this time, we get a new insight into the strange phenomenon of medical ghost-writing.

Attributed authorial assistance is one thing. This is different, and more cynical. A commercial medical writing company is employed by a drug company to produce a programme of academic papers that can be rolled out in academic journals to build a brand message. After copywriters produce the articles, in collaboration with the drug company, to their specifications, the ghostwriting company finds some academics who are willing to put their names to them, perhaps after a few modest changes.

The latest documents come from a court case brought against Wyeth by around 14,000 patients who developed breast cancer while taking their hormone replacement therapy, Prempro. The open access journal PLoS Medicine, acting with the New York Times, argued successfully in court that 1500 documents from the case which detailed the ghostwriting should be placed in the public domain, because they represent important information on a potential threat to public health. Now, PLoS has published the first academic analysis of these documents, which is free to access online.

HRT, we should remember, has had a rocky history. Initially the panacea to all ills, by 1998 the HERS trial showed it didn’t prevent cardiovascular events after all, and by 2002 the Womens Health Initiative trial showed it also increased the risk of breast cancer and stroke. We now know it increases the risk of dementia and incontinence. Survey data shows that even today, many gynaecologists continue to have beliefs about the efficacy of HRT that are in excess of the evidence. Reading how the literature was engineered, it’s not hard to see why.

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Posted in Medical Studies, Medicine. Comments Off on Ghostwriters in the sky
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