March 30, 2005

CodeBlueBlog $100,000 Challenge

CodeBlueBlog, run by a radiologist, explains the difference between a neurologist and a radiologist when it comes to interpreting CT scans (for the record, Terri never had an MRI or a PET, even though MRI is around ten times more detailed than a CT).

    I've watched a steady stream of neurologists, bioethicists, and neurologist/bioethicists from Columbia, Cornell, and NYU interviewed all week on Fox and CNN and MSNBC. They all said about the same thing, that Terri's CT scan was "the worst they'd ever seen"or "as bad as they've ever seen."

    Here's the problem with these experts: THEY DON'T INTERPRET CT SCANS OF THE BRAIN. RADIOLOGISTS DO.


    You see, a neurologist will look at the CT of the brain of one of his patients, but this is entirely different from interpreting CT's of the brain de novo, for a living, every day, without knowing the diagnosis and most times without a good history. In addition, whereas I heard Dr. Crandon say he's "seen" a thousand brain CT's... well I've interpreted over 10,000 brain CT's. There's a big difference.
Which of course your typical journalist doesn't know and assumes that a neurologist is the foremost expert on neurology. The problem is like calling in Dr. Ruth to interpret a grainy sex video - you need an expert on the medium, not the thing being studied. The CT scan is a highly specialized field and requires a lot of experience to master. Neurologists know about brains but it doesn't mean they know much about a specific way of viewing the brain.

With this in mind, CodeBlueBlog has a challenge:

    To prove my point I am offering $100,000 on a $25,000 wager for ANY neurologist (and $125,000 for any neurologist/bioethicist) involved in Terri Schiavo's case--including all the neurologists reviewed on television and in the newspapers who can accurately single out PVS patients from functioning patients with better than 60% accuracy on CT scans.

    I will provide 100 single cuts from 100 different patient's brain CT's. All the neurologist has to do is say which ones represent patients with PVS and which do not.

    If the neurologist can be right 6 out of 10 times he wins the $100,000.
If I had to make a bet, it would be that none of them will risk their reputations on this, because they know they can't do it.


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