Exercise improves mental health? What you need to know

Last week, HealthDay News (and many other news sites) covered a study from The Lancet Psychiatry looking at the association between exercise and depression. People who said they exercised tended to report fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who said they didn’t exercise, according to the study. That finding was unfortunately misreported […]


The art of the non-news release: News you can’t use

Sometimes the most obvious questions are the most important; such as, is a news release newsworthy? I don’t think these three news releases, all published on the same day last week, even come close to qualifying: Enrollment Passes Halfway Milestone in Clinical Trial Evaluating the Effect of an Exclusive Human Milk Diet Including a Specialty […]


Podcast: Emergency docs highlight toxic health care myths

A trip to the emergency department is never a welcome experience, but it can be made worse — or even be triggered by — a patient’s unrealistic expectations.

Veteran emergency doctors Jerome Hoffman, M.D., and Greg Henry, M.D., discuss how misleading media messages can feed myths that lead to patient harms, and what patients and physicians can do about it.


Reader’s Digest goes off the rails with ‘Doctor visits you need to make at every age’

Reader’s Digest proudly touts itself as one of the most trusted media brands. But can its more than 3 million subscribers – and 19.3 million readers – trust its recommendations about which screening tests they need as they move through the decades of their lives? There are a number of recommendations made in its recent […]

2 8/9/2018

Do wellness programs work? A unique study does much more than offer a possible answer

If you’re one of our regular readers I’ll bet your ears echo from hearing us bang these drums over and over: When OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES find an association between two things it does NOT mean one thing CAUSED the other thing to happen. The gold standard of evidence-based medicine is confirming or refuting findings via multiple […]

1 8/8/2018

Problematic PR releases: Publicizing phase 1 trials

Last week we introduced our new ongoing series looking at problematic PR releases, surfacing trends in news releases that discuss health care interventions. We found, for example, that news releases sometimes fail to include the most basic data findings from the research they’re promoting, leaving it to journalists to sift through (often paywalled) studies to […]


Headline vs. study: Promises for your heart, brain, and the common flu

This edition of Headline vs. Study focuses on two recurrent problems we see in both news stories and news releases. First, the prevailing assumptions that either new technology (like using stem cells for a common knee ailment), or more technology (like combining two heart scan techniques) are automatically superior to the existing approach. Although that sometimes […]


5-Star Friday: Exposing hidden realities of health care

Expose • (verb) / ikˈspōz/ • Make (something) visible, typically by uncovering it • “At low tide the sands are exposed” • Synonyms: reveal, uncover, lay bare. Undoubtedly, one of the most important roles journalism plays in society is to expose. The articles we feature below are great examples of this, and we give the reporters […]


Podcast: The clear and present danger of too much health care

Do we have too much health care that’s supported by too little evidence? Ray Moynihan, PhD, thinks so. In this podcast, the erudite and personable Australian journalist-turned researcher helps us make sense of the complex intersection of overdiagnosis, evidence-based medicine, and conflicts of interest.

4 7/30/2018

Problematic PR releases: Where’s the data?

We’ve been closely tracking healthcare-related news releases for several years now, systematically reviewing more than 550 using our 10 criteria. We can’t get to every news release we see–the churn is vast. That’s why we’re starting a new ongoing blog series, problematic PR releases, looking at some of the big-picture problems we see in news […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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