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Et tu, FT?

The allure to report anything as a medical breakthrough is strong. So strong that even the Financial Times can’t avoid it:

New diagnostic technology that uses fibre optics to find the causes of heart disease has begun Emphasis mine. clinical testing at London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

The iKOr device, developed at Barts Health and University College London, measures blood flow around the heart. Researchers say it could eventually help many thousands of patients suffering from cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pains, whose cause cannot be identified with current techniques.

“This new device is a game-changer in how we manage heart disease, making it a lot easier to assess the health of a person’s heart,” said Anthony Mathur, clinical director for interventional cardiology at Barts.

Three patients have undergone testing to date, out of 10 planned in the first phase. Another 100 may, subject to regulatory approval, before the device could potentially become commercially available, if it’s demonstrated to work. There is, it goes without saying, no clinical data published to date.

How does this change the game, exactly, when we don’t yet know if it works? The use of undeserved superlatives in cancer drug reporting is well documented so it’s not a surprise to see cardiology, that other lucrative medical subspecialty, being much the same.

What is a surprise is seeing the usually reliable FT falling down to the level of The New York Times in spreding medical jingoism. How interesting that in both cases it was a local hospital — Memorial Sloan Kettering for NYT, St Bart’s for FT — serving as the source. So interesting that I have to think there were some personal behind-the-scenes goings on.

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