By Eric J. Topol and Harlan M. Krumholz
IN this age of instant information, medicine remains anchored in the practice of releasing new knowledge at a deliberate pace. It’s time for medical scientists to think differently about how quickly they alert the public to breakthrough findings.
Last week the National Institutes of Health announced that it had prematurely ended a large national study of how best to treat people with high blood pressure because of its exceptional results.
In this trial of more than 9,000 people age 50 and older with high blood pressure, an aggressive treatment strategy to keep systolic blood pressure below 120 was compared with a conventional one aimed at keeping it below 140. The subjects all had a high risk of heart attacks, stroke and heart failure. The N.I.H. concluded, six years into a planned eight-year study, that for these patients, pushing blood pressure down far below currently recommended levels was very beneficial.
Read the full op-ed on The New York Times website.