Health News Review
  • Mar 15 2015

    A Bridge Over Diagnosis – James McCormack video

    With the Lown Institute’s 3rd annual Right Care conference still fresh in mind from last week in San Diego, I’m pleased to re-distribute James McCormack’s latest video, “A Bridge Over Diagnosis.”   I’ve posted past McCormack parodies: Choosing Wisely will make you happy Bohemian Polypharmacy —————— Tweet Follow us on Twitter: and on [...]

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  • Mar 12 2015

    “Acting as though statistical significance implies truth isn’t even approximately correct” – part 3 of a series

    Is a P-value of 0.05 sacrosanct? As I asked trusted sources about statistical significance, one road led clearly to Dr. Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association.  If you’ve heard his name, it may have been in the context of breast cancer.  Since 1990 he has [...]

  • Mar 11 2015

    Are P-values above .05 really just statistical noise? Part 2 of 3

    When a journalist asked me a question about statistical significance recently, it opened my eyes to how little attention I’ve given the topic on this site.  And as I started looking around, I found that there are some gems to guide understanding, but they’re not widely recognized. Let’s look at a news example first. 9 [...]

  • Mar 10 2015

    Statistically significant: where to draw the line? Part 1 of series to help journalists/readers

    I’ve decided it’s time to address statistical significance –  because I don’t think many journalists understand this concept very well. At a very high, introductory level, you could say that it’s an attempt to judge the probability that something we think we have found is due only to random chance. (Addendum 2 hours later:  I should [...]

  • Mar 6 2015

    Lown Institute Right Care conference: we’re treating lab results – not patients

    I’ll be attending the Lown Institute’s Right Care conference in San Diego next week.  Come back to this blog for future blog posts and maybe even some video interviews from this event. On the Institute’s website, I found a Q & A with Allen Frances, MD, professor emeritus and former chair of psychiatry at Duke. [...]

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  • Mar 5 2015

    How much overdetection in cancer screening is acceptable?

    A paper in The BMJ, “People’s willingness to accept overdetection in cancer screening: population survey,” paints a picture of how difficult is the challenge of trying to inform and educate patients and health care consumers about over detection. The study tried to address what level of overdetection people would find acceptable in screening for bowel, [...]

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  • Mar 4 2015

    And, in the mice are not people department of……….

    On today, “New Hormone Discovered That Curbs Weight Gain, Diabetes Just Like Exercise.” Here’s a fun little reader survey: Should the fact that this research was only done in mice be: in the first sentence? or only in the last sentence (which is where it appeared) ? Ideally should the story link to: the [...]

  • Mar 4 2015

    BMJ back on bad track with its news releases: now gout & Alzheimer’s

    Biostatistician Dr. Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center wrote to me recently, “My assessment of the landscape of observational studies, including much of epidemiology, ranges from bleak to parched earth.” That should get your attention about why we – all of us who communicate about research findings – need to do a better job [...]

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  • Mar 3 2015

    A tale of two observational studies – peanuts, coffee, heart health – and how the journals & some journalists handled them differently

    I saw this coming as soon as I saw the BMJ news release about a study published in one of its journals, Heart. The BMJ, which seemed to have turned a corner recently, starting to include at least boilerplate news release language about the limitations of observational studies, dropped the ball on a new one. [...]

  • Mar 2 2015

    Heartburn Hell on the NBC Today Show: omitting things consumers might want to know about a $14K device

    The following is a guest blog post from one of our contributors, veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman. Trudy keeps an eye out for the way in which health care topics are promoted to the public, and this is one of the latest to catch her eye. ———————– Imagine a world where no one would suffer [...]