Health News Review

Just a few weeks ago, HealthNewsReview.org analyzed several stories on a study of berries and women’s heart health. In our review of a HealthDay story, we noted:

The story quotes two independent experts, preventive cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum and nutritionist Dana Greene. We wish that the experts were quoted on a more analytical view of the study, instead of talking so much about berry diets. Greene is even quoted as saying, “[Berries] are so good for you,” and “There is no downside” to eating berries. Again, too much of anything could become more of a harm than a benefit, as mentioned above. It’s interesting that Steinbaum was also interviewed in the competing TIME story.  Why?

Well, the Embargo Watch blog may have the answer.

They report that Steinbaum was the subject of an email sent to reporters three days before the study was published.  The EW blog reports:

Such emails — and my inbox contains more than 300, dating back to March 2011 — come from Michael Kaplan, of GCI Health, a PR firm that represents North Shore-LIJ, a collection of community and teaching hospitals in New York. Among those hospitals are North Shore, Long Island Jewish, and Lenox Hill, all of whose experts have been featured in Kaplan’s pitches, available to comment on studies in the JAMA family of journals, the BMJ, Pediatrics, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

But there’s more, according to EW:

But there are some problems with the method. Kaplan’s emails include specifics about embargoed studies, and I never signed an embargo agreement with him. And how is he getting access to these embargoed studies to begin with? Don’t journals restrict such access to journalists, right or wrong, who agree to their embargo policies?

Now you know why the Embargo Watch blog looked deeper, and published under the headline, “Is this the scientific embargo version of insider trading?

I encourage you to read the full post.

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Comments

Matilde Parente, MD posted on February 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

The answer is yes. Thanks for the post, and to Embargo Watch.