LYMEPOLICYWONK: CBS Lyme Story, A Tale of Conflicts of Interest & Bias
A CBS news story on Lyme disease has patients concerned about the misinformation that it promotes. On top of that, the story does not have the level of journalistic integrity that serious topics should have. For one thing, there is the title: “Lies and Truths”. Lies are statements that are known to be false that are told to intentionally deceive another person. Lies are not issues that are matters of scientific debate. When a science article title uses the word “Lies”, it tells the reader that it is not about science. Second, the article is a single source article. This means unlike most journalism and particularly good science journalism, there is no attempt to present different sides of the issue. One side, in fact, one person’s opinion is put forth as uncontested “truth” with no counterpoint. Third, the piece is edited by the Orly Avitzur, M.D., M.B.A., Editor-in-Chief of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). You may recall that the AAN was part of the antitrust investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General into the Lyme guideline development process by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The reason?
After the antitrust investigation was launched the IDSA cited a spate of copycat guidelines, including a set by the AAN, as independent corroboration of its beleagured guidelines to support it legal position. Here’s what the Attorney General had to say about the AAN Lyme guidelines: “The IDSA portrayed another medical association’s Lyme disease guidelines as corroborating its own when it knew that the two panels shared several authors, including the chairmen of both groups, and were working on guidelines at the same time. In allowing its panelists to serve on both groups at the same time, IDSA violated its own conflicts of interest policy.” Who did Dr. Avitzur rely on as the source for her story? You guessed it. . .Someone who was not only a member of the IDSA Lyme guidelines panel, but also was the Chair of the AAN panel: Dr. John Halperin. How about disclosure of these interests so the public can assess whether the information in this article might be biased? Forget about it. So much for unbiased journalism.
The CBS story is available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-204_162-10007902.html?tag=mncol;lst;1
Those interested in the role of the AAN in the antitrust investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General should read the article in Neurology Today: Guidelines on Trial: AAN Subpoenaed as Part of Investigation into Treatment Parameters for Lyme Disease. http://www.aan.com/elibrary/neurologytoday/?event=home.showArticle&id=ovid.com:/bib/ovftdb/00132985-200710160-00001
The LYME POLICY WONK blog is written by Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA, who is the Chief Executive Officer of LymeDisease.org, formerly CALDA. Contact her at email@example.com.
- December 20, 2011 at 8:47 am
It is a propoganda war, and they seem to be winning at the moment.
- December 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm
It is a sad state of affairs; the whole debacle of this disease! I have suffered from it for over 30 years; and am treated like a leper for the most part! I have to go to NYC for treatment; when I live on Cape Cod.The fact that it is an epidemic here on the Cape des not matter. The doctors don't care and refuse to treat properly. I believe that the Dept. of Defense created this horrid disease; and is keeping the antedote from us to be healed!Just look at Plum Island Video with Jesse Ventura; it speaks volumes about this! It's an outrage by the government using it's citizenry as Guinea Pigs!
- March 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm
This article was wrtiten at a time when NH had a bill before the legislature to specifically allow for the extended use of ABX by LLMDs. It would have prevented them from Medical Society action and was the first step in mandatory coverage by insurance companies. The Bill was defeated. It will re-surface. So, taken in that context we shouldn’t necessarily expect him to lay out his actual defence of the IDSA .which he doesn’t. While acknowledging his empathy for chronically ill and (briefly) touching on the nature of the placebo effect and the anti-inflammatory nature of some ABX he all but brushes away the rheams of evidence that people can, and do get better on ABX treatment. I would caution that this article, though well-wrtiten, lacks the actual argument point-counterpoint that is necessary to objectively state the case for Chronic Lyme. But, then again, that wasn’t the purpose of the article. It was to refute the need for legislation to define the scope of medical practice. Every doctor opposes this.bt
- July 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm
Seeking a medical doctor that treats Lyme disease
I live in the Saratoga Springs, Albany, NY area
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