4 7/1/2015

When patients speak – some hear golden tones and others noise

A Brookings Institute economics expert and a patient advocate argued with each other last week during a live Google chat. They disagreed about the voices of patients, and how much these voices should count. Their debate is just one of hundreds going on as to how and where and when to register patient feedback in […]


Harvard’s Jerry Avorn warns against FDA loosening off-label marketing restrictions

Jerry Avorn wrote the book, “Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs,” one of many great books written on this general theme in the past decade or so.   This week, the Harvard prof – Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – writes a warning in […]


Friday gems – in case you missed them

We can’t do a Five Star Friday feature today because we didn’t have any five-star reviews to shine a light on. In fact, this week, after publishing 128 systematic criteria-driven news story reviews so far this year, we gave our first zero-star score of the year to a Washington Post diet story.  We don’t like […]

3 6/25/2015

Vyvanse – A life cycle drug? Or disease mongering?

The following is a guest blog post by Dr. Susan Molchan, one of our independent expert editorial contributors. Could an article in the scientific journal Psychopharmacology, “New onset executive function difficulties at menopause: a possible role for lisdexamfetamine,” be the first shot across the graying marketplace for another “disease” for the brand name stimulant Vyvanse? Initially […]

9 6/24/2015

MD gets direct mail about screening – says she “can’t stand this anymore” a la Howard Beale

Hanna Bloomfield, MD, MPH, is Associate Chief of Staff, Research for the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System. She usually writes scholarly articles. But when she recently got a piece of direct mail urging her to pursue cardiovascular screening she felt she didn’t need, she decided to write a commentary in the local newspaper. The Star Tribune published her piece, “Don’t be […]

3 6/23/2015

Skinny jeans & nerve damage case studies have haunted me throughout my career

31 years ago, as a young medical news reporter for CNN, I was upset because a story I’d been working on was bumped from a newscast in favor of a story about a JAMA journal article of a single case study, “Tight-jeans meralgia: hot or cold,” about a woman experiencing nerve problems attributed to wearing jeans that were […]


Calling avocado a miracle food wasn’t enough; now a cancer buster?

The following is a guest blog post by Alan Cassels. With a large run on “avocados are good for you” news stories, including one we analyzed here at HealthNewsReview, one can expect a serious avocado shortage coming soon as people rush to their grocery stores to buy up this latest ticket to Fruitopia. Just a […]

4 6/19/2015

Coverage of FDA’s trans fat decision a high-water mark for health journalism

This is the first in a mutli-post series on the FDA’s trans fat decision by Bill Heisel, a former investigative reporter at the LA Times and a longtime contributor to HealthNewsReview.org.  News reports on the decision by the FDA to phase out artificially made trans fatty acids in food products represent what I would consider […]

10 6/18/2015

Questions about Mayo Clinic deal with Minneapolis TV station

The following guest blog post was submitted by Trudy Lieberman, a veteran health care journalist who, for years, has tracked the cracks in the wall between health care news and health care advertising/sponsorship arrangements. For months now, every night on the 10 pm newscast from KARE 11, the Twin Cities NBC affiliate, thousands of viewers […]

1 6/17/2015

Everybody’s talking at me, on health on Twitter

The following is a guest blog post from one of our contributors, Sally James of Seattle, an active observer of, and participant in, health/medicine/science-related social media. She tweets as @jamesian. Maybe you’ve heard about patients discussing breast cancer or other diseases on “chats” in social media. Whether you are fluent in the language of Twitter […]


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