5 7/13/2015

Is it time to digitally re-examine the PSA test?

The following is a guest blog post by Alan Cassels. A urologist got an opinion piece, “Bring Back Prostate Screening,” published in the New York Times last week. The author writes: “men should not wait for a government agency to tell them what’s best. My own strongest recommendation is that men insist on a baseline PSA test while […]


Five-Star Friday – and one local TV news dud

Kudos for a couple of journalism gems this week. Sarah Kliff’s piece on Vox, “Do no harm”  There’s an infection hospitals can nearly always prevent. Why don’t they? Peter Whoriskey’s story in the Washington Post, “Fish oil pills: A $1.2 billion industry built, so far, on empty promises.” Ivan Oransky’s MedPage Today blog post, “A Retracted […]

5 7/8/2015

Charges that CNN made false claims about Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Nepal

The Global Press Institute reports, “CNN Falsely Claims Dr. Sanjay Gupta Performed Brain Surgery on 8-Year-Old Quake Victim in Nepal.”  The heart of the issue is explained here: While covering the medical response to April’s devastating earthquake in Nepal, TV neurosurgeon-journalist Sanjay Gupta and his colleagues wrongly reported that he helped perform a craniotomy that […]


Arizona Republic tracks state law allowing do-it-yourself lab testing

This is one worth following. The Arizona Republic reported, “Do-it-yourself lab testing without doc’s orders begins.”  Excerpt: Arizona law has allowed consumers to get a limited number of tests — for example, cholesterol and blood-glucose checks — on their own from licensed labs. But House Bill 2645 lets consumers access any test a lab sells […]

5 7/2/2015

Shut up and sip your coffee – says Slate

Brian Palmer of Slate sounds like he’s as fed up with observational studies about coffee’s benefits and coffee’s harms as we are. He published a piece, “Shut Up and Sip: Coffee is neither good nor bad for you.  Now you may go.”  It makes me think of the book (cover image at right) written by […]

9 7/1/2015

When patients speak – some hear golden tones and others noise

A Brookings Institute economics expert and a patient advocate argued with each other last week during a live Google chat. They disagreed about the voices of patients, and how much these voices should count. Their debate is just one of hundreds going on as to how and where and when to register patient feedback in […]


Harvard’s Jerry Avorn warns against FDA loosening off-label marketing restrictions

Jerry Avorn wrote the book, “Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs,” one of many great books written on this general theme in the past decade or so.   This week, the Harvard prof – Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – writes a warning in […]


Friday gems – in case you missed them

We can’t do a Five Star Friday feature today because we didn’t have any five-star reviews to shine a light on. In fact, this week, after publishing 128 systematic criteria-driven news story reviews so far this year, we gave our first zero-star score of the year to a Washington Post diet story.  We don’t like […]

4 6/25/2015

Vyvanse – A life cycle drug? Or disease mongering?

The following is a guest blog post by Dr. Susan Molchan, one of our independent expert editorial contributors. Could an article in the scientific journal Psychopharmacology, “New onset executive function difficulties at menopause: a possible role for lisdexamfetamine,” be the first shot across the graying marketplace for another “disease” for the brand name stimulant Vyvanse? Initially […]

9 6/24/2015

MD gets direct mail about screening – says she “can’t stand this anymore” a la Howard Beale

Hanna Bloomfield, MD, MPH, is Associate Chief of Staff, Research for the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System. She usually writes scholarly articles. But when she recently got a piece of direct mail urging her to pursue cardiovascular screening she felt she didn’t need, she decided to write a commentary in the local newspaper. The Star Tribune published her piece, “Don’t be […]


Tips for Understanding Studies

View More