Health News Review
  • Jun 26 2014

    Questioning some of the ways in which new drug treatments are reported to the public

    While I’m working on a grant proposal to keep this project alive, my publishing efforts have fallen off a bit.  But it’s comforting to know that somebody else is doing some watchdog work – somebody like Paul Raeburn at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker. This week he wrote, “Cystic fibrosis breakthrough, or Wall Street coup?” [...]

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  • Jun 26 2014

    Readers react to mouse fitness study on NY Times “Well” blog – and I agree

    Earlier this week I praised one New York Times blog piece. But I have a quite different reaction to another I just read. The Times’ “Well” blog published a piece, “For Fitness, Push Yourself.“  It was about tips for you. The column fits in among other recent personal health postings on the blog on: heart [...]

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  • Jun 25 2014

    Which journalists reported an extra dimension on the 3-D mammography story?

    Faithful to the latest journal article, many news organizations dutifully reported what they were told by authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography.“  The list of stories that resorted to sensational language – breakthrough, game-changer, best way of detection, [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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.  [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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