Mass Torts: State of the Art

Mass Torts: State of the Art

Category Archives: Epidemiology

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Yet Another Opinion in Which a Court Mistakes Hypothesis for Theory

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Reason, The Law
While some may imagine that scientific hypotheses are the product of highly educated people with brilliant minds drawing straightforward inferences from compelling evidence the fact remains that all scientific hypotheses are nothing more than guesses; and as every middle schooler taught the scientific method knows, even the best pedigreed hypotheses are usually false. On the … Continue Reading

Need Something To Attack The Reliability Of Animal Studies?

Posted in Epidemiology, Toxicology
The Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Third Edition has the following to say about animal studies: Animal studies have a number of advantages. They can be conducted as true experiments, and researchers control all aspects of the animals’ lives. Thus, they can avoid the problem of confounding, which epidemiology often confronts. Exposure can be carefully … Continue Reading

Lawyers Have Learned To Distort Pharmacovigilance Signals

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, The Law
The goal of pharmacovigilance is to detect the subtle signal of a causal effect otherwise buried amongst the noise of all the maladies which by coincidence alone happened to manifest after a drug was taken. The FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) gathers reports of these adverse events and presents them in a database that can be analyzed for just such signals. … Continue Reading

Painting By Numbers

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Reason
It’s hard to argue with the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Joann Schultz v. Akzo Nobel Paints, LLC; a benzene/AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) wrongful death claim filed by the wife of a painter. The opinion frames the question before the court as follows: Is the fact that plaintiff’s … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology
More evidence for a weak association between trichloroethylene (TCE) and liver cancer but not NHL, and vice versa.  Now I know why those who can are buying penthouses. Do CT scans cause cancer? The fact that Plasmodium falciparum (which causes malaria) hide out in red blood cells is strange enough; that they can communicate to the wider population of P. … Continue Reading

A Duty To Mine Big Data

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, The Law
We had another jury trial and thus were offline for a few weeks but it didn’t take long to dig up something I hope you’ll find of interest. I ran across it in a recent opinion by the district court in the In Re Fosamax Product Liability Litigation. What is it? It’s a duty to actively mine … Continue Reading

Those Who Switched From Saturated Animal Fats To Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils May Have Made A Fatal Mistake

Posted in Epidemiology
The publication of "Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis" in the British Medical Journal should be sobering news for twenty-first century public health advocates. The results of the biggest and most thorough study thus far to investigate … Continue Reading

Be careful with unsubstantiated claims!

Posted in Epidemiology
An interesting and thoughtful comment on one of our recent posts from Dr. Marc-Andre Gagnon: I believe your interpretation of the study is simply wrong. The authors refer to a study by Chan et al., published in BMJ, which showed that such differences between protocols and publications were prevalent in a sample of 70 clinical … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Reason
The hedgehog: actually it’s lots of little things. Some say being overweight protects against many diseases of aging, some those studies are biased. Father of the bride, and future defendant in 47 A. butzleri cases? "…it is now possible to determine with great precision the cellular origin of solid tumours in mice." Imagine what it … Continue Reading

Are Industry-Sponsored Clinical Trials Misleading Or Just As Sloppy As Those Done By Academics?

Posted in Epidemiology
If you’ve read "Published clinical trials shown to be misleading", a story about a newly published article detailing discrepancies between a drug company’s documents and the papers it published based on data drawn from those documents, and if you pondered this quote from one of the study’s authors about their review of those internal company documents [w]e … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Risk
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (covering 1979 – 2009) is out. The good news is that overall death rates for some of the biggest killers continues to decline. The bad news is that deaths from cancers caused by infectious agents like HPV and hepatitis-C are up; doubling in some cases. … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology
New research reveals what Toxoplasma gondi (a parasite that completes its lifecycle in cats) does once it gets into the brain. Given mounting evidence that T. gondi alters the behavior of its human hosts, understanding how it takes over may lead to eradication therapies. Higher Breast Cancer Rates for Women Working in the Farming, Food Canning … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, The Law
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court looks set to decide whether, in the case of asbestos and mesothelioma, evidence of some exposure is necessarily evidence of substantial exposure. Lymphomas and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS): Drink more, smoke less. Your dehumidifier may be your unintended Christmas gift to Influenza A virus. Omics Shmomics. Nature reports that the NCI has new guidelines … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology
Heavy asbestos exposure prior to age 45 appears to determine risk of death from asbestosis versus mesothelioma. Fetch the comfy chair! The health-promoting effects of some essential oils may be due to their ability to prevent bacteria from conspiring against us. From one end to the other bacteria are being implicated in cancer. Halfway through, the risk of pancreatic cancer … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology
Something tells us benzodiazepine-dementia lawsuits are coming. The details are here. Prions and Alzheimer’s: little zombies v. you. In Illinois it’s still the case that "the existence of a duty "is entirely a question of law … It is no part of the province of a jury." Ben Goldacre explains publication bias. We’ve ignored T. gondii … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology
We’re a lot more diverse than you think. Low socioeconomic status (SES) kills. In part because it has a profoundly negative effect on cancer survival. It’s time to put the welding/Parkinson disease claims to rest. Meanwhile, thanks to a misreading of Matrixx v. Siracusano, some courts believe that because the FDA might delay approval of a drug … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Microbiology, The Law
When it comes to causing cancer, what’s in it for bacteria and viruses? Opportunity. First asbestos, then tobacco, now … food? So far, laws targeting obesity don’t seem to be having much effect. It’s complicated. Accidentally shooting your co-worker (with a smuggled gun) while monitoring a generator is [obviously] not "in furtherance" of your employer’s business (at … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Microbiology, Reason
Why would an antidepressant also fight off a fungus that infects the CNS? Healthy skin requires healthy germs. Your skin is home to a trillion bacteria. Don’t die; be happy. Mycobacterium and Crohn’s disease, the case. Grab your pick, shovel and bolt again – creepers, our ancient enemies. Texas courts don’t have jurisdiction over the British … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Reason, Risk
We think the 9th Circuit just said that an untested hypothesis isn’t knowledge. Why would being overweight protect against non-small cell lung cancer? Some clinics continue to use single-dose vials (SDVs) of injectable medication on multiple patients causing outbreaks of nasty infectious diseases. Getting the causation arrow pointed in the right direction: sleep disturbance doesn’t cause breast cancer – … Continue Reading

Discretizations

Posted in Epidemiology, Molecular Biology, The Law
Union Carbide overreaches and manages (unsurprisingly) to get part of asbestos tort reform in Texas (as applied to certain cases) declared unconstitutional. Be serious (and cereus): just because there’s alcohol in the surgical pads that doesn’t mean they’re sterile. BPA-daughters? The Endo Journal has published an article suggesting that exposed first generation female mice are anti-social … Continue Reading

PLoS Medicine is Publishing An Attack On “Big Food”

Posted in Causality, Epidemiology, Molecular Biology, Reason
A new series in PLoS Medicine says we’re going through another epidemiologic transition; this time it’s a "nutrition transition", from a simple traditional diet to a highly processed food diet "resulting in a stark and sick irony: one billion people on the planet are hungry while two billion are obese or overweight". Can you guess who gets the blame? … Continue Reading

IARC’s Paper on Diesel Exhaust, Gasoline Exhaust and Nitroarenes Is Out

Posted in Epidemiology
See "Carcinogenicity of diesel-engine and gasoline-engine exhausts and some nitroarenes" at Lancet Oncology. Diesel exhaust is elevated to Group 1 while gasoline exhaust is 2B. Most of the nitroarenes are 2B though 6-nitrochrysene was elevated to 2A. Clearly the thinking is that exhaust particulates from which tars can be extracted are what’s driving the increased … Continue Reading
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