Health News Review
  • Feb 20 2012

    WRONG: a book about evaluating evidence

    Science and business journalist David Freedman’s book, “Wrong:  Why Experts Keep Failing Us – And How to Know When Not To Trust Them,” hits on many health/medical/science journalism themes – although that is not the main focus of his book, which also addresses finance wizards, relationship gurus, celebrity CEOs, high-powered consultants and more. The book’s [...]

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  • Feb 17 2012

    The Costly Myths about Pharmaceutical R&D

    The following is an unsolicited guest post submitted by Donald W. Light, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, and Rebecca Warburton, University of Victoria, Canada.  It is followed by some comments in response from Matthew Herper, the writer of the Forbes article in question. We are pleased to provide this forum for this [...]

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  • Feb 16 2012

    Key quotes from Reuters story on overtreatment

    Nothing new, just good perspective in a Reuters piece, “Stemming the tide of overtreatment in U.S. healthcare.” And some great quotes.  Examples: “I don’t trust professional societies to (set clinical guidelines) because that’s how they make money – by doing tests and procedures,” said MIT healthcare economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber; “When hospitals buy robots they [...]

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  • Feb 16 2012 – another solid resource for journalists

    I’ve recently become aware of – and hope to collaborate and share ideas with – a Canadian website called The founders describe this as “a non-partisan web-based project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Manitoba Health Research Council to make the latest evidence on controversial health policy issues available to the media.  [...]

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  • Feb 15 2012

    Former Pfizer exec: Maybe it’s time for pharma to drop TV ads

    JohnLaMattina, former Pfizer president of R & D, has an article on, “Maybe It’s Time for Drug Companies to Drop TV Ads.” In it, he reflects on: Paula Deen pushing a diabetes drug; the “intent and implication” of erectile dysfunction ads; and Dr. Robert Jarvik hawking Lipitor, among other topics. And he concludes: “If [...]

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  • Feb 15 2012

    “All the Justice Money Can Buy” – the Merck Vioxx story that can’t be forgotten

    I finally read Snigdha Prakash’s book, “All the Justice Money Can Buy: Corporate Greed on Trial,” about some of the lawsuits brought by people who alleged they were injured by Merck’s painkiller Vioxx, which, according to some estimates, caused up to 140,000 cases of heart disease and up to 56,000 deaths over five years. I’m [...]

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  • Feb 14 2012

    Proton beam therapy: if you build it, they will come

    A “research letter” in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week concludes: “To our knowledge, we show for the first time that the availability of a technology, in this instance a proton beam facility, in one’s HRR (hospital referral region*) is associated with a higher likelihood of receiving proton beam therapy compared with those living [...]

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  • Feb 14 2012

    Why elevate Adele’s surgeon to “miracle” status?

    This is how my local CBS station, WCCO in Minneapolis, teased and promoted a story about the surgeon who worked on Adele’s vocal cord polyp.  Miracle?  Really?  Why do journalists feel the need to elevate stories about celebrities and their doctors to this level? For almost six years, we have worked through our project [...]

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  • Feb 13 2012

    An “exercise pill”? Take two and call us in the morning

    The following is a guest post by Carol E. Torgan, PhD, FACSM, a member of our editorial team on She is a health scientist and consultant based in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Torgan received her PhD in Kinesiology from The University of Texas and was a Research Associate and Assistant Research Professor in the Division [...]

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  • Feb 10 2012

    One reader’s reaction to TV story hyping coconut oil for Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, etc.

    The reason we have dedicated ourselves to this project is that we believe that health care news can influence people – and it can either help them or hurt them.  In the crush of meeting their daily quotas, journalists – and their news organizations – may sometimes forget that what they report may influence individual [...]

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