Health News Review
  • Jun 24 2014

    Important story on NYT blog: When Advance Directives Are Ignored

    Paula Span wrote a very important story on the New York Times‘ New Old Age blog about how – despite the best efforts – a dying person’s documented wishes might be unknown or ignored. The story discusses one possible solution – the use of a POLST form.  POLST stands for a Physician Orders for Life [...]

    3 Comments
  • Jun 23 2014

    Oz, Oliver, and Outrage About Nutritional Supplements

    On his “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” program on HBO, the host tore into Dr. Oz, his Senate testimony last week, and the regulation (or lack thereof) of nutritional supplements.  The segment discusses Senators Harken and Hatch and their roles in the latter.  It includes classic Oz clips, like talking with Cameron Diaz about [...]

    7 Comments
  • Jun 23 2014

    A bionic pancreas! The true and Holy Grail! – BMJ blog sarcasm with a lesson

    I don’t think that Dr. Richard Lehman was addressing last week’s news coverage of the artificial pancreas when he wrote in his weekly journal review on a BMJ blog: A hush falls over the great cathedral as the evening light grows dim. As if from above, unearthly music fills the incense laden air. The kneeling [...]

    2 Comments
  • Jun 18 2014

    What stands out to me about the Oz Senate testimony

    There’s no need for me to go into the details of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s tough questioning by the The U.S Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance yesterday. It’s been widely covered. But of many troublesome things he said, one stands out to me:   “My job is [...]

    1 Comment
  • Jun 13 2014

    Robotic surgery news & marketing – misrepresentation of evidence

    “Under the glare of an operating theatre lamp….” Here it comes:  another drooling, fawning news story about robotic surgery – this time from The Guardian in the UK under the headline, “Newcastle hospital’s £2m robot transforms medical operations.” It was surprising to see how unquestioning the story was. The subheadline: “Dexterity of Da Vinci robot [...]

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  • Jun 13 2014

    Sam’s Club serves up a Father’s Day prostate special. Such a deal!

    A physician wrote to me, concerned that she’s seen no news coverage questioning why Sam’s Club stores across the country are offering free PSA screenings for men 40 and over to “celebrate men’s health month.”  The events are apparently scheduled for this coming weekend, on June 14. But not everyone is impressed by the promotion.  [...]

    2 Comments
  • Jun 12 2014

    “Cancer pill fights disease & gives lifelong protection” – for mice

    It took The Daily Telegraph of the UK nearly 200 words and 8 sentences to get around to explaining that the headline above pertained to a study conducted in mice. And when the story did get around to it, here’s how it was reported: “Although the study was conducted in mice, researchers are confident it [...]

    3 Comments
  • Jun 12 2014

    ABC radio Australia: What ails health reporting

    After appearing recently on the popular “On the Media” program on US National Public Radio, I’m flattered to appear on Australia’s ABC radio national program, “Media Report,” with veteran journalist Richard Aedy.  Smart host for another smart media analysis radio program.   You can listen to it here.             ————————- [...]

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  • Jun 12 2014

    Proton beam therapy – radiation oncology group weighs in on the evidence (and lack thereof)

    Usually when I make suggestions to journalists about things to cover, I urge them to report on questions of evidence for two of the fastest growing and most expensive medical technologies:  proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery. Recently, the American Society for Radiation Oncology issued a new model policy for proton beam therapy. In [...]

    3 Comments
  • Jun 11 2014

    BMJ news release on red meat & breast cancer may have misled reporters again

    I shuddered as soon as I read the BMJ news release headline, which read: “Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases.“  I shuddered because I predicted to myself that many headlines, if not complete news stories, would report this as proof of cause and effect.  Or, at the very least, caveats [...]

    7 Comments