Health News Review
  • Aug 20 2014

    Smart journalism scrutinizes cancer screening issues

    Julia Belluz, on Vox.com, wrote, “Older patients are getting screened way too often for cancer.“  She reported on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded: “A substantial proportion of the US population with limited life expectancy received prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening that is unlikely to provide [...]

    No Comments
  • Aug 19 2014

    Hair loss treatment data in 3 people gets widespread (and often weak) news coverage

    Published results in just 3 people drew widespread international news attention. NBC News, which has a history of baldness treatment hype, did it again, putting a graphic behind anchor Brian Williams that played question mark journalism, asking, “Cure for Baldness?”  Short answer:  No.  Not yet.  Not after good results in 3 people.  But NBC had [...]

    4 Comments
  • Aug 19 2014

    Yay for a BMJ journal news release for including caveats about an observational study!

    I’ve criticized them many times, so now it’s time to salute them. And let’s hope the news release writers for BMJ journals continue this practice. This week, in a news release about a paper in one of the journals published by the BMJ, the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was this caveat: “This is [...]

    No Comments
  • Aug 8 2014

    Weekending confusion: Playing the “Price is Right” with MRI….and CNN flunks geography

    The terrific Clear Health Costs project reports early results from their new California crowdsourcing project on MRI prices. How’s this for a narrow price range: $255 <———> $2,925. If that has you confused, how about these maps from CNN:   If Nigeria and Hong Kong don’t appear as above on your maps, the problem is [...]

    No Comments
  • Aug 7 2014

    Wording on “Low vitamin D boosts Alzheimer’s/dementia risk” is wrong

    The BBC headlined it, “Low vitamin D boosts dementia risk.”  And countless blogs and Twitter messages parroted that same line.  Erroneously. Because, as the BBC story itself went on to explain: “We need to be cautious at this early stage and our latest results do not demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia,” (the [...]

    No Comments
  • Aug 6 2014

    Aspirin and cancer story more complicated than many are reporting

    Is it even worth it to draw attention to the UK Daily Mail’s headline this week calling aspirin a miracle pill? Yes, clearly it is, because many, many other stories around the globe hyped the story – although most of them short of the degree to which the Daily Mail did. Headlines were shouting advice [...]

    3 Comments
  • Aug 5 2014

    The cost of cowboy doctors…debate over diet drugs…gems in JAMA Internal Medicine

    Imagine a Dartmouth economics prof giving a talk in Texas about the “cowboy doctor problem.” Whoa, Nelly, writes Carey Goldberg on the WBUR Boston CommonHealth blog. Jonathan Skinner, the Dartmouth prof, says “cowboy doctors were associated with nearly 60 percent greater spending among patients near the end of life.” A paper Skinner co-authored for the [...]

    2 Comments
  • Aug 4 2014

    Ebola news notes, including ethical questions for CNN

    Just a few observations about the journalism involved in the Ebola news coverage. Faye Flam on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker wrote, “Ebola outbreak reaction shows why science writers are necessary.” She points to Maryn McKenna’s Superbug blog, in which Maryn called the “Ebola media scrum…disgraceful.”  But she also posts a long list of articles [...]

    2 Comments
  • Aug 3 2014

    Does “Manopause” really warrant one of TIME’s 52 covers this year?

    TIME magazine’s cover boy this week is a shirtless middle-aged man under the headline,”Manopause?! – Aging, insecurity and the $2 billion testosterone industry.” Overall, it was an interesting story, well told.  It discussed the hype, the amount of money some people are making off of Low T “therapies,”  the uncertainties, the potential hazards, and the [...]

    No Comments
  • Jul 30 2014

    Sit back & watch urologists go at it over robotic surgery claims

    I’m on vacation this week but I enjoyed sitting back and watching a urology kerfuffle over claims about a robotic surgery study and associated news release. Here’s what the American Urological Association (AUA) tweeted earlier today.  The Twitter responses are from a Pittsburgh urologist whose Twitter handle is @daviesbj. There’s a lot going on here, [...]

    1 Comment