Health News Review
  • Aug 7 2014

    Wording on “Low vitamin D boosts Alzheimer’s/dementia risk” is wrong

    The BBC headlined it, “Low vitamin D boosts dementia risk.”  And countless blogs and Twitter messages parroted that same line.  Erroneously. Because, as the BBC story itself went on to explain: “We need to be cautious at this early stage and our latest results do not demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia,” (the [...]

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  • Aug 6 2014

    Aspirin and cancer story more complicated than many are reporting

    Is it even worth it to draw attention to the UK Daily Mail’s headline this week calling aspirin a miracle pill? Yes, clearly it is, because many, many other stories around the globe hyped the story – although most of them short of the degree to which the Daily Mail did. Headlines were shouting advice [...]

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  • Aug 5 2014

    The cost of cowboy doctors…debate over diet drugs…gems in JAMA Internal Medicine

    Imagine a Dartmouth economics prof giving a talk in Texas about the “cowboy doctor problem.” Whoa, Nelly, writes Carey Goldberg on the WBUR Boston CommonHealth blog. Jonathan Skinner, the Dartmouth prof, says “cowboy doctors were associated with nearly 60 percent greater spending among patients near the end of life.” A paper Skinner co-authored for the [...]

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  • Aug 4 2014

    Ebola news notes, including ethical questions for CNN

    Just a few observations about the journalism involved in the Ebola news coverage. Faye Flam on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker wrote, “Ebola outbreak reaction shows why science writers are necessary.” She points to Maryn McKenna’s Superbug blog, in which Maryn called the “Ebola media scrum…disgraceful.”  But she also posts a long list of articles [...]

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  • Aug 3 2014

    Does “Manopause” really warrant one of TIME’s 52 covers this year?

    TIME magazine’s cover boy this week is a shirtless middle-aged man under the headline,”Manopause?! – Aging, insecurity and the $2 billion testosterone industry.” Overall, it was an interesting story, well told.  It discussed the hype, the amount of money some people are making off of Low T “therapies,”  the uncertainties, the potential hazards, and the [...]

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  • Jul 30 2014

    Sit back & watch urologists go at it over robotic surgery claims

    I’m on vacation this week but I enjoyed sitting back and watching a urology kerfuffle over claims about a robotic surgery study and associated news release. Here’s what the American Urological Association (AUA) tweeted earlier today.  The Twitter responses are from a Pittsburgh urologist whose Twitter handle is @daviesbj. There’s a lot going on here, [...]

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  • Jul 29 2014

    6th time I’ve called out BMJ news releases on observational studies

    I do not enjoy this – repeatedly calling out The BMJ for its misleading news releases on observational studies. But I’m going to keep doing it until I see a change. The last time I did this, just two months ago, change was promised by The BMJ editor Trish Groves. But here we go again. [...]

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  • Jul 22 2014

    What the public doesn’t see about pharma trying to buy influence

    The big European Society of Cardiology world congress will be held in Barcelona next month. Larry Husten of Cardiobrief.org shared an invitation he received from a PR company, which read, in part: “…for an internal event organized by Sanofi Regeneron (PCSK9) on August 30 in Barcelona, we are looking for a moderator for the whole [...]

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  • Jul 22 2014

    Robotic roundup: Useful? Or little clinical value?…”robotic invasion”…outpaces evidence

    Here’s another of our periodic roundups of robotic surgery news, some of which doesn’t get much attention in the mainstream news media. Forbes has hosted a little back-and-forth about robotic surgery in recent weeks.  First, Robert Pearl, MD, chief executive of the Permanente Medical Group, included a discussion of robotic surgery in his piece, “America’s [...]

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  • Jul 21 2014

    Niacin news provides another example of how surrogate outcomes don’t tell whole story

    In his weekly journal review, Dr. Richard Lehman points out another classic example of how you can’t jump to conclusions just because a drug has an impact on a surrogate outcome.  It’s the big stuff we should focus on – not the surrogates.  He writes: Niacin is an abundant natural B vitamin, which lowers bad [...]

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