2 8/11/2015

Introducing the Health News Watchdog podcast

I started in radio news 42 years ago in Milwaukee.  Finally, I’m getting back into it – in a way – by introducing our first podcast on HealthNewsReview.org. The first episode features Dr. Hanna Bloomfield, who had a Howard Beale “mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” moment when she received […]

1 8/5/2015

Troubled BMJ news release on young fathers & early death risk

Shortly after praising a news release by The BMJ earlier today for emphasizing the limitations of an observational study, another news release for another journal published by BMJ is at the other end of the spectrum. “Fatherhood at young age linked to greater likelihood of mid-life death,” is the headline of a news release about […]


Medical journal news releases CAN make a difference

This week The BMJ sent journalists a news release, “Regular consumption of spicy foods linked to lower risk of death.” The second paragraph – the third sentence overall – of the news release read: “This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors call for more research […]

9 8/4/2015

21st Century Cures Act: A huge step backward for FDA standards

The following guest post is written by veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman. Trudy often writes about consumer safety protections and the media’s role in upholding those protections.  In early January Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, the new chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, dropped a big hint to the Associated […]

2 8/3/2015

Freeze Your Ass Off, Celebrity Style

We’re pleased to publish a guest blog post by Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta, a Trudeau Fellow and the author of “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture And Science Clash”. It’s his first blog post on our site. Lindsay Lohen does it. Ditto […]

2 7/31/2015

NPR’s On the Media with a skeptic’s guide to health news/diet fads

Science journalist John Bohannon, Timothy Caulfield of the University of Alberta, and I are interviewed on NPR’s On the Media this weekend. On the Media, produced by WNYC in New York,  has begun publishing printable consumer handbooks to accompany their on-air programs, and they based one handout this week on our HealthNewsReview.org review criteria.


Tips for understanding studies

Periodic reminder about a collection of brief primers we offer in our Toolkit, covering the following topics: 7 Words (and more) You Shouldn’’t Use in Medical News Absolute vs. Relative Risk Animal & Lab Studies Commercialism Be careful with composite endpoints/outcomes Resources for Reporting on Costs of Medical Interventions Phases of Drug Trials Medical Devices FDA Approval Not Guaranteed Intention-to-treat analysis […]

2 7/28/2015

The problem with health stories based on animal research

“Too Much Salt May Delay the Onset of Puberty, Study Suggests.” Health conscious parents who strive to stay on top of current medical news may have paused at that headline, they might even have clicked it. The title, lede and second paragraph of this story published on TIME.com all state that too salty of a […]

3 7/27/2015

Fred Hutch president predicts cancer cure in 10 years; critics have heard it all before

Every few years someone steps in it by claiming we are close to a cancer cure – as if all cancers are alike and we’ll soon have all the knowledge we need to cure the myriad forms of cancer. The latest public figure to make that claim is Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center president Dr. […]


Taking stock of new Alzheimer’s drug coverage: A “landmark breakthrough” that offers no “clinically apparent benefit”

The big story dominating this week’s health news has been the presentation of new results on studies of Alzheimer’s drugs at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington. Eli Lilly was there to show off data on solanezumab, a drug that previously failed to demonstrate benefits in two big studies but is now being retested […]


Tips for Understanding Studies

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