Health News Review
  • Sep 22 2014

    Two headlines for same stem cell story: halting progress? Or patients dancing?

    Last week, I read with interest a New York Times piece headlined, “The Trials of Stem Cell Therapy,” with the subhead:  “Stem Cells: Plenty of Hope, but Halting Progress.”  I thought that was an appropriately cautious introduction to this issue, which has received so much hype. “Halting” is defined as: marked by a lack of [...]

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  • Sep 22 2014

    Duluth newspaper tackles commercial screening test questions

    John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune reports, “Wellness screening offers draw complaints.”  The story was apparently motivated by one Duluth resident’s complaint about a piece of direct mail she received from the LifeLine Screening company – the kind of mail many Americans get in the company’s carpet-bombing direct mail campaigns.  The story begins: “Sue [...]

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  • Sep 16 2014

    Evidence/balance lacking in Philly story on “Don’t Fear The Finger” campaign

    The Philadelphia Inquirer published a story, “Prostate cancer activists launch ‘the finger’ campaign to stem decline in testing.“  It begins: Kristine Warner wanted an eye-catching way to encourage men to talk to their doctors about the complicated, controversial subject of prostate cancer screening. Don’t Fear The Finger campaign was born. Go ahead and snicker. It [...]

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  • Sep 15 2014

    “Catastrophizing parlance” about diabetes

    Earlier today, I published a critique of a news story that was imbalanced in its reporting about pre-diabetes.  The story referred to a “national health crisis.” In his weekly BMJ blog reviewing journals, Dr. Richard Lehman addressed other hyperbolic language used to describe Type 2 diabetes.  He wrote:  In the catastrophizing parlance of the Lancet, [...]

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  • Sep 15 2014

    USA Today story shows lack of awareness of debate over pre-diabetes classification

    USA Today published a story, “Pre-diabetes, diabetes rates fuel national health crisis.” But the story fails to note one word of caution or skepticism about the definition of pre-diabetes.  Just two months ago, Victor Montori of the Mayo Clinic and John Yudkin of University College London wrote in The BMJ, “The epidemic of pre-diabetes:  the [...]

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  • Sep 8 2014

    Competition between “cure” and “breakthrough” on MS story — in mice

    A paper in the journal Nature Communications reported on a mouse study of a condition similar to multiple sclerosis. Mice.  And mice only. But look at how it was reported.  There was competition betweenhow many stories would claim “breakthrough” versus how many would claim “cure.” The Daily Express in the UK:  “Could a cure for [...]

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  • Sep 4 2014

    Family’s pursuit of proton beam therapy is focus of international controversy

    Proton beam therapy – which I’ve written about many times – is in the headlines for new reasons, including: a little boy with brain cancer charges of denial of treatment “an international manhunt” extradition hearing a statement by the British Prime Minister A Google search comes up with more than 2,000 returns on the story.  [...]

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  • Sep 4 2014

    See it, stent it: the Oculostenotic Reflex

    A small, but important study was summarized in JAMA Internal Medicine last week, “How Cardiologists Present the Benefits of Percutaneous Coronary Interventions to Patients With Stable Angina.” It was an analysis of 40 discussions between patients and cardiologists about whether to pursue angiograms (catheters inject dye into the heart arteries so imaging can show blockages) [...]

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  • Sep 3 2014

    European Society of Cardiology added to News Release Wall of Shame

    The press office of the European Society of Cardiology has been busy with the organization’s big annual meeting that concludes its 5-day run in Barcelona today. But I regret to announce that I’m adding them to my News Release Wall of Shame for one of their news releases headlined, “Drinking tea reduces non-CV mortality by [...]

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  • Sep 3 2014

    After Barcelona buzz wears off, questions remain about new heart drugs

    From the big European Society of Cardiology annual meeting in Barcelona come these headlines: Cholesterol Drug Halves Heart Attack and Stroke in Early Test Magic Cholesterol Pill Halves Heart Attack Risk The first was from the New York Times, picking up a Reuters story. Seeing that, Yale’s Dr. Harlan Krumholz tweeted: “This @nytimes headline sends [...]

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