Health News Review
  • Dec 14 2009

    Disease-mongering of menopause and premature ejaculation

    The New York Times published a couple of good articles that touched on the theme of disease-mongering this weekend. One documented how drug companies sold hormone replacement therapy by making menopause into a disease. The other showed how drug companies are turning premature ejaculation into a disease that requires treatment. Disease-mongering for men and women. [...]

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  • Dec 11 2009

    Jim’s Full Body Scanner – “The Jimmer” – and rational health care

    Jim Ragsdale of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a terrific column this week, “Rational health care, not rationed.” It begins: “I invented a device called Jim’s Full Body Scanner. It takes up a city block, which means it cost kabillions to build and operate. But for $50,000 per scan, the Jimmer, as I call [...]

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  • Dec 10 2009

    CBS tells a touching medical story. Unfortunately it was woefully incomplete.

    CBS News ran a segment last night on a little girl who apparently benefited from the use of a left ventricular assist device called “The Berlin Heart” – a device that supported her heart for a few days while she waited for a heart transplant. The girl was the daughter of Chicago Bears football player [...]

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  • Dec 9 2009

    CNN fear-mongering, screening advocacy on kids’ hearts tests

    Two CNN anchors join the ranks of other journalists (see my blog from just 2 days ago) who have jumped on the “let’s screen every American kid’s heart” bandwagon. First, I heard anchor Kyra Phillips say there was an “unprecedented rise in the risk of serious heart problems in children” – calling it “a ticking [...]

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  • Dec 9 2009

    How a drug company courts news coverage to create demand for a new drug

    The Wall Street Journal Health Blog published an interesting inside look of – as they put it – “how drug makers can try to lay the groundwork for sales well before a new therapy hits the market.” The topic is premature ejaculation. Some might call the methods “disease-mongering.”

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  • Dec 8 2009

    Star Tribune gives one-sided view of FDA medical device approval process

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a good idea in writing about possible changes in the FDA’s medical device approval process. I first blogged about this 3 months ago with a focus on the agency’s 510K process – established 30 years ago as a way to allow the manufacturers of some medical devices to get a [...]

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  • Dec 7 2009

    Failure to scrutinize claims about screening all US sixth-graders’ hearts

    Last week, several news stories across the country reported that a Houston sports cardiologist was calling for widespread heart screening of sixth-graders after he found seven with undiagnosed heart conditions — two of which required surgery. The Houston Chronicle reported the story, but the only comment about concerns was one of cost: “Such an endeavor, [...]

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  • Dec 7 2009

    The devil is in the details – and in TV health news teases

    Teases – those TV news set-up lines that tell you what’s “still to come” after the next commercial – are an important part of how a producer plans a TV newscast. So important that the popular ShopTalk website and newsletter often features tips on teases. TV news people across the country read this ShopTalk advice [...]

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  • Dec 4 2009

    MIT Medical Evidence Boot Camp for Journalists

    Just gave a talk today to Fellows at this terrrific journalism training opportunity funded by the Knight Foundation. As one of my former students Tweeted this morning, many more journalists could benefit from such evidence-based training.

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  • Dec 2 2009

    Gee, and CNN said the USPSTF stood all alone on this one

    Eleven of the nation’s leading health and prevention organizations today sent a letter to Congress that defended the recent recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force regarding breast cancer screening and set the record straight about recent public misstatements regarding the recommendations. The letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations: American Academy [...]

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