Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

    No Comments
  • 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 [...]

  • Feb 27 2015

    A simple test proven to predict how long you’ll live? Gannett gaffe

    A veteran health care journalist sent me the following story and wrote, “So irresponsible, bad enough on local (TV) news, but it ends up on USA Today? I hope you can skewer it.” “How long will you live? Try the Sitting Rising Test,” was the headline on USA Today’s website as they posted a TV [...]

  • Feb 27 2015

    MS joins the coffee club, in which association ≠ causation

    Yes, another new member for the coffee club.  Nary a week goes by without a new observational study about the benefits or risks of coffee consumption.  And almost always, many news organizations fail to explain the limitations of the observational studies. Today’s example, though, gives us one of the better cross-media comparisons of people who [...]

    1 Comment
  • Feb 25 2015

    Why we look for independent perspectives in health/medicine/science news stories

    Fox News this week provides us several prime examples of why we look for independent perspectives with no conflicts of interest in news stories about health care. One story on their website this week is headlined, “3D bioprinting offers minimally invasive surgery options.” While there are several people quoted in the story, all of them [...]

    No Comments
  • Feb 24 2015

    Stop blaming “demanding patients” for driving up health care costs

    A recent JAMA Oncology paper by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, “Patient Demands and Requests for Cancer Tests and Treatments,” is worth a look. The authors note that: “Surveyed physicians tend to place responsibility for high medical costs more on “demanding patients” than themselves. However, there are few data about the [...]

    No Comments
  • Feb 23 2015

    Stealth Research & “may they know the exact content of their stools”

    Thanks to Dr. Richard Lehman for my morning chuckle and for providing a link to a serious concern. Lehman, in his weekly journal review blog for The BMJ, writes: “I once sat through a presentation by a Dutch medical entrepreneur in which we were shown the continuous monitoring environment of the future, in which every [...]

  • Feb 23 2015

    Of Mice and Women: News Release Dupes Media on Rodent Fertility Treatment

    The following is a guest post by Kevin Lomangino, managing editor of He tweets as @Klomangino.  ____________________ If you haven’t heard, is paying more attention to news releases these days. Behind the scenes here, we’ve been quietly reviewing health care-related news releases in the same way we review news stories. We’ve banked about a dozen [...]

    No Comments
  • Feb 20 2015

    NBC Nightly News: News program? Or “Doc In The Box” on-air advice segment?

    I was tempted to let this observation fly by unaddressed because I don’t want it to appear as if I’m picking on NBC and its new medical contributor, Dr. Natalie Azar. But there’s a pattern unraveling on the air that, in my opinion, must be addressed and changed. Last night, on the NBC Nightly News, [...]

    No Comments