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Grab your reading glasses...

Capsules' co-blogger Anne Taylor-Vaisey has been busy lately! In an effort not to overwhelm, I'll just post the basic info and links to all the articles she's dug up this week:

Clever Nihilism: Cynicism in Evidence Based Medicine Learners, Medical Education Online
Free full text

Metheny WP, Espey EL, Bienstock J, Cox SM, Erickson SS, Goepfert AR et al. To the point: Medical education reviews evaluation in context: Assessing learners, teachers, and training programs. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005; 192(1):34-37.

Hattab AS. Current trends in teaching ethics of healthcare practices. Developing World Bioeth 2004; 4(2):160-172.
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The February 2005 issue of Medical Education is now available online from Blackwell Synergy

The role of the pharmaceutical industry in neurologic education. Neurology 2005; 64(2):E7-E10.
No link for this one, so here's the scoop: Excerpt: Each year, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN)'s A.B. Baker Section on Neurologic Education conducts an Education Colloquium at the AAN annual meeting. The goals of the Colloquium are to heighten awareness, stimulate creative approaches, and foster dialogue among members regarding current trends, challenges, and opportunities in neurologic education. The theme of the 2004 Education Colloquium was the role of the pharmaceutical industry in neurologic education.

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly involved in neurologic education, partly because of recent dramatic advances in the pharmacotherapy of neurologic diseases, and partly because of economic trends affecting medicine and academic medical centers. The growing role of the pharmaceutical industry in education has both positive and negative consequences.

Neurologists need to be informed about currently available medications and the clinical trials that provide evidence for their effectiveness. A major source of information is the material prepared by the pharmaceutical companies and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for drug labeling. For their part, pharmaceutical companies need to keep abreast of current trends and perceived needs in clinical and academic neurology. Furthermore, researchers in industry and researchers in academic neurology departments both benefit from openly communicating with each other. Thus, there are many ways in which industry involvement in neurologic education is desirable.

At the same time, this interaction is fraught with risks, because the priorities of the pharmaceutical industry differ from those of clinical and academic medicine. Pharmaceutical companies will predictably emphasize information that puts their products in the best possible light, introducing biases that can be difficult for trainees and even teachers to recognize (for example, focusing on distinctions that are not clinically meaningful, downplaying adverse results, and minimizing the role of non-pharmacologic management and the use of generic and off-patent drugs). Financial support and personal relationships can improperly influence how neurologists and trainees make decisions about medications, how teachers present information (and even how they decide what topics to cover), and how investigators conduct and interpret research.

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