1 3/24/2016

Big news orgs can’t resist reporting on small trials; hype doesn’t help readers, though

This week, a Wall Street Journal reader left this comment online in response to a story on bunnies & broccoli: “Uh. This study was conducted with 15 rabbits. For 4 weeks. And it included a drug not tested on humans. Why are you reporting on this?” Read our review of the story in question. Maybe news organizations […]


Breast cancer-detecting bra won’t go away–and the news coverage is still sub-par

Oh boy, here we go again: Numerous stories are piling up under the news search term: “New Bra Detects Breast Cancer.” The brassiere, according to a news release that was relied upon heavily by news outlets, is being developed by researchers at Colombia’s National University. It’s being pitched as an early warning system for breast […]

1 3/23/2016

Observational studies & the health messaging merry-go-round: Moderate alcohol, once “healthy,” now “not so good for you after all”

Carolina Branson, PhD, is an associate editor with HealthNewsReview.org. Her graduate work at the University of Minnesota focused on media studies and health.  For years, we’ve been hearing moderate drinking is a health boon. From lowered heart disease risk to increased lifespan, the splashy headlines make for great media fodder. The problem: these stories are […]

2 3/22/2016

Predictions for Precision Medicine get an evidence-based reality check  

The following guest post is by Dr. Michael Joyner, a medical researcher at the Mayo Clinic. These views are his own. You can follow him on twitter @DrMJoyner. One of the key ideas underpinning “Precision Medicine” is that information about the genetic risks for key diseases can be communicated to patients and cause proactive changes […]

7 3/21/2016

With clout growing, hospitals avoid negative coverage of huge fines, safety violations

The following post is written by veteran health care journalist and regular HealthNewsReview.org contributor Trudy Lieberman. She tweets as @Trudy_Lieberman. Associate Editor Carolina Branson, PhD contributed significantly to the analysis.     There were three ways news outlets could have responded to the Justice Department’s (DOJ) February announcement and its previous one last fall that revealed […]

2 3/18/2016

Five Star Friday Feature: pieces for Oprah, STAT, ESPN

Allow us to shine a light on some things that fall outside our regular review process, but which we found noteworthy. Laura Beil’s Oprah mag piece, “Colonoscopy Alternatives Everyone Should Know About,” with an accompanying chart, The 3 Colon Cancer Screening Methods You Need to Know About. Money quote: “Rare is the doctor who doesn’t wholeheartedly […]

2 3/17/2016

Sensational Tweets on Alzheimer’s & breast cancer by University of Manchester in 1 week

Kathlyn Stone, an associate editor, manages our health care news release review project. She tweets at @KatKStone People who should know better are playing cat and mouse with health claims on Twitter. In the course of one week the University of Manchester used Twitter to promote two sensational health claims. Last week evolutionary biologist Jonathan […]


As March Madness tipoff approaches, an old urology marketing ploy gets more media attention

An ESPN story got some attention on Twitter last night, dredging up the old urology marketing ploy of promoting vasectomies for men who are lying around watching March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament for days at a time anyway.  Actually, ESPN just trotted out a story they published 2 years ago and called it “Snip and […]

4 3/16/2016

Coverage of Amarin off-label promotion agreement should have acknowledged deadly history of such marketing

Alan Cassels is a drug policy researcher in Victoria, British Columbia and a regular contributor to HealthNewsReview.org. Follow his writings on Twitter @akecassels. Last August, the drug company Amarin won a court case that essentially granted them a protected “free speech” right to promote their fish oil-derived product Vascepa for off-label purposes. And this week, […]

2 3/11/2016

Wrigley’s self-serving oral health plan gets free pass from news media

Kathlyn Stone is as associate editor with HealthNewsReview.org and a regular blog contributor. Simply chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking, and you’ll save yourself and the UK a lot of painful dental expenses. Or so says Wrigley, the chewing gum company, in a news release headlined “Chewing sugar free gum could save the NHS […]


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