Health News Review
  • Jul 21 2014

    Niacin news provides another example of how surrogate outcomes don’t tell whole story

    In his weekly journal review, Dr. Richard Lehman points out another classic example of how you can’t jump to conclusions just because a drug has an impact on a surrogate outcome.  It’s the big stuff we should focus on – not the surrogates.  He writes: Niacin is an abundant natural B vitamin, which lowers bad [...]

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  • Jul 13 2014

    Journalists jump at chance to say “fart” in a story; botch what study & news release said

    This is like the old game of telephone. Communicate a message from person to person to person and watch how the original message disintegrates. The message in question started as a basic research paper in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications – entitled: The synthesis and functional evaluation of a mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide donor, (10-oxo-10-(4-(3-thioxo-3H-1,2-dithiol-5-yl)phenoxy)decyl)triphenylphosphonium bromide [...]

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  • Jul 11 2014

    One physician’s story: An Egregious Example of Ordering Unnecessary Tests

    Harriet Hall writes on the Science-Based Medicine website about a 21-year old man seeing a board-certified family physician for a routine physical.  Excerpt: This young man is healthy, has no complaints, has no past history of any significant health problems and no family history of any disease. The patient just asked for a routine physical [...]

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  • Jul 11 2014

    Creative YouTube videos by MDs can educate & entertain

    I’ve written about ZDoggMD.com videos before. If you’re hooked on House of Cards, you may appreciate his Frank Underwood impersonation in this video in which he persuades an anti-vaccine mother to do the right thing.   Aaron Carroll tries to educate viewers about “Number Needed to Treat: Treatments Don’t Work Like You Think They Work” [...]

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  • Jul 10 2014

    The BBC interviews two of my favorites on risk literacy & shared decision making

    Two of my favorite health care thinkers appeared – together – in recent BBC magazine and radio interviews:  Gerd Gigerenzer and Glyn Elwyn. The BBC magazine story, “Do doctors understand test results?” is worth a look. The two also appeared on the BBC radio Health Check program. There’s nothing really new in the magazine feature, [...]

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  • Jul 10 2014

    BringMeTheNews website brings you dark chocolate study hype – minus the caveats

    Oh, how journalists love studies about dark chocolate. See some past examples I’ve collected. Recently I wrote: “We flood the American public with “health” news every day.  And the overload may very well cause confusion and disorientation about what’s important in health and wellness in our everyday lives….We’re losing people, drowning them in a sea [...]

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  • Jul 9 2014

    What women need to know about USNWR’s “16 Health Screenings All Women Need”

    When I see a headline such as “16 Health Screenings All Women Need,” I steel myself for what comes next. “All women need“? What came next in the US News & World Report column was a list of recommendations that included imbalance, incompleteness, and more controversy than the column suggests. For example: On clinical breast [...]

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  • Jul 9 2014

    Choosing Wisely will make you happy

    James McCormack may hold one of the keys to educating the public about smart health care: music videos. McCormack describes himself as pharmacist, professor, medication mythbuster and healthy skeptic at the faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia. His past YouTube videos on “Bohemian Polypharmacy”…”Some Studies That I Like To Quote”…”Tom Hanks [...]

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  • Jul 8 2014

    What does an 87% accurate Alzheimer’s test mean? Not much without positive predictive value.

    What does it mean to say that a new test is 87% accurate? I think most journalists writing about a paper published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia could not satisfactorily answer that question – about a statistic they repeatedly quoted in stories about that paper. The answer is:  Not much, if you don’t take [...]

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  • Jul 1 2014

    Watch World Cup, get free skin CA screening – more hospital marketing

    It’s a new twist on “having skin in the game.” During today’s USA World Cup match, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City tweeted: Ok to cheer for the red, white and blue. But with these “free skin cancer screenings,” I wonder if people were told that: The US Preventive Services Task Force concludes “that [...]

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