Health News Review
  • Feb 9 2015

    Endometrial cancer joins the “coffee club” in which association ≠ causation

    Did the latest round of causal claims about a coffee observational study stem from a news release? I’m betting so, because not many journalists I know regularly read the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers & Prevention, which is where the latest coffee study appeared. Indeed, that’s a journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research.  AACR [...]

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  • Feb 8 2015

    Comedians, entertainers tackle anti-vaccine movement, media measles messages

    MedPage Today called it the Tweet of the Week when Ottawa physician Sunny Chan (@DrWaiSun)  “shared this blunt video created by Penn and Teller that ‘destroys the anti-vaccine movement tin 90 seconds.’ ” Comedians Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Fallon addressed measles-in-the-media issues. ————— Tweet Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/garyschwitzer [...]

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  • Feb 5 2015

    Lots of reporting & CDC criticism in BMJ piece on antiviral drug Tamiflu

    There are all sorts of evidentiary questions swirling around the use of the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).  And then there is the politics – if that’s what you can call the statements and actions of federal agencies about the drug. Jeanne Lenzer has a new feature in The BMJ, “Why aren’t the US Centers for [...]

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  • Feb 5 2015

    More Bow Tie, Less Glitz Please: Breast Cancer Vaccine Promises Don’t Serve Readers/Viewers

    The following is a guest blog post from one of our new contributors, Alan Cassels, who is an author, journalist, and drug policy researcher with an interest in how clinical research and experience on pharmaceuticals gets translated for policy-makers, prescribers and consumers. ——————— Sometimes a news story feels like a scientific conference.  Half the time you’re [...]

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  • Feb 4 2015

    Why not discuss cost in news of new breast cancer drug approval?

    Reuters reports: U.S. FDA approves Pfizer’s high profile breast cancer drug. Language used: potential new standard of care one of the most promising medicines in Pfizer’s development pipeline could generate annual sales of $3 billion by 2020 Discussion of the drug’s cost: None MedPage Today reports: Palbociclib doubled progression-free survival in a pivotal study Language used: [...]

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  • Feb 4 2015

    Two noteworthy breast cancer articles: women who turn down mammography…and questions about precision medicine

    Women’s magazines are often not the place to go for hard-hitting, evidence-based health care stories.  That’s not just my opinion.  That’s what I’ve heard through the years from many women who try to write such pieces for women’s magazines. But here’s an exception to that pattern:  Laura Beil’s piece in O, The Oprah Magazine, entitled, [...]

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  • Feb 3 2015

    It’s good to see others get in on the media watchdog work

    We can’t cover everything, so it’s nice to see other sharp-eyed observers jump in to comment on media messages such as the following. Journalist Larry Husten reacted quickly today, posting, “No, Too Much Jogging Probably Won’t Kill You.”  Excerpt: Once again lazy health journalists have fallen down on the job and performed a disservice to [...]

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  • Feb 2 2015

    Another egregious conflict of interest in Fox Health News

    On the FoxNews.com/health web page today is a piece (I won’t call it a story; it’s more like an ad) by Dr. Jennifer Landa, “Ending the multivitamin debate: Why taking one may actually save your life.” Oh, my, there’s a lot we could say about this piece. And we will, since I’m going to blog [...]

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  • Jan 30 2015

    Click-bait “science” news: binge-watching-TV analysis

    The NBC Today.com/health website posted a story, “Binge-watching TV helps some people beat the blues.” Not only did the headline make this claim, but the second sentence did, too:  “…it may also be a way for some people who feel depressed or lonely to beat the blues.” Hmmm. Our managing editor, Kevin Lomangino, and I [...]

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  • Jan 29 2015

    What was missing in many stories about sugary drinks & girls’ 1st periods

    A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that “more frequent sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption was associated with earlier menarche (age at first menstrual cycle) in a population of US girls.” The data came from questionnaires filled out by 9 to 14 year old girls.  A built-in limitation of this kind of research is [...]

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