Pet Peave: popular press articles that don't link to their sources
Posted by Clark Venable on 4/11/2006
The New York Times Online has an article titled 'Blasting of Kidney Stones Has Risks, Study Reports'. The article mentions the journal (The Journal of Urology) and the first author (Dr. Amy Krambeck). Would it have been so difficult to link to the abstract in the online version?
Materials and Methods
Chart review identified 630 patients treated with SWL at our institution in 1985. Questionnaires were sent to 578 patients who were alive in 2004. The response rate was 58.9%. Respondents were matched by age, sex and year of presentation to a cohort of patients with nephrolithiasis who were treated nonsurgically.
At 19 years of followup hypertension was more prevalent in the SWL group (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.03, 2.10, p = 0.034). The development of hypertension was related to bilateral treatment (p = 0.033). In the SWL group diabetes mellitus developed in 16.8% of patients. Patients treated with SWL were more likely to have diabetes mellitus than controls (OR 3.23, 95% CI 1.73 to 6.02, p <0.001). Multivariate analysis controlling for change in body mass index showed a persistent risk of diabetes mellitus in the SWL group (OR 3.75, 95% CI 1.56 to 9.02, p = 0.003). Diabetes mellitus was related to the number of administered shocks and treatment intensity (p = 0.005 and 0.007).
At 19 years of followup SWL for renal and proximal ureteral stones was associated with the development of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. The incidence of these conditions was significantly higher than in a cohort of conservatively treated patients with nephrolithiasis. "
Before people panic (or call lawyers), please consider that this is one study, retrospective, with a 59% response rate, using older lithotripsy technology (as the NYT article points out, modern machines use less energy and are able to focus it more precisely.
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