This week's journal reviews on Doctors.net.uk
Journal Watch is a service provided to summarise some of the most popular medical journals.
Doctors.net.uk has a panel of specialist advisers responsible for reviewing a range of journals of general medical interest and some more specialised publications.
General Journal Watch is written by Dr Druin Burch, Consultant in Internal Medicine
This week's journals include....
Pious platitudes about the worthiness of a definition of addiction as "a chronic brain disorder" - precisely the sort of stuff The Lancet does worst. Theodore Dalrymple, whose prose I often dislike, has written marvelously on the harms caused by this sort of waffle. There are no pills that cure addiction, and a person's willpower and self-belief are key aids. The doctrine that they are helpless pawns of a brain disease produces an awful cadre of pseudo-science whose impact is to undermine what power they have to improve their lives.
Do macrolide antibiotics help prevent COPD flares? They do, says this RCT of 1,500 odd patients with serious COPD who received them steadily over the course of a year. This could be due to azithromycin's immunomodulatory or anti-inflammatory actions, but, as a simple man, I reckon it's more likely down to the fact it's an antibiotic. This is of serious interest, but whether it should lead to widespread adoption of azithromycin is unclear. The authors call for more prescriptions rather than further research.
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