1 2/22/2016

John Fauber profile – 2nd in occasional podcast series on standouts in health care journalism

Anyone who follows health care news should pause for a moment and look at the body of work that John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has built – especially in just the past seven years. (Fauber’s work is also seen on MedPage Today in a partnership arrangement.) There is much that other health care […]

2 2/19/2016

MIT’s misleading PR headline on autism

We’ve now published 125 systematic criteria-driven reviews of PR news releases about health care or research.  We won’t apply all of our criteria to this one, because it is the often-all-important headline that is the focus of our commentary.   On Twitter, UC Davis professor Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics), wrote: Wow @MIT turned mice into humans and a […]

2 2/18/2016

Public institutions in Maryland still ducking basic questions about chocolate milk and concussions study

High schools mum about rights, safety of student study participants Product endorsement by public schools chief, no response to questions Request for public records gets only a timeline and fee schedule from UMD Flawed news release, masquerading as news, repeated by yet another site In December, the University of Maryland put out a news release […]

5 2/17/2016

AAAS stories hype immunotherapy, cancer saliva test

“Excitement” “Unprecedented” “Revolutionary” “Spectacular” “Dramatic” “Amazing” “Very large tumors simply melt away” All of these words were used in news stories to describe immunotherapy research results presented at the big annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC.   Results, that, according to the BBC, have also “not been […]

15 2/16/2016

Our psychiatrist-reviewer analyzes news about proton pump inhibitors & dementia risk

Guest post by Dr. Susan Molchan, a psychiatrist with extensive experience in clinical research at the National Institutes of Health. She is the former program director for clinical dementia research at the National Institute on Aging.  And she is one of our most active contributors. This week, many news outlets are reporting that so-called heartburn […]


Podcast: Rare disease foundation says medical journal misled patients

This is the second in an unplanned, occasional series about real people who are harmed by inaccurate, imbalanced, incomplete, misleading media messages.  The first was about a man with glioblastoma brain cancer. People with rare diseases may hang on any crumb of possible good news more than anyone else.  Many have learned how to find […]

4 2/12/2016

Yale hype could raise false hopes for myeloma cancer patients

When you read news issued by Yale University based on a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, you might reasonably assume that the information you’re receiving is reliable and devoid of hype. But you’d be wrong in that assumption. A PR news release issued on February 10, 2016 announced, “Yale researchers […]


Five Star Friday – news releases that shine or stink

After systematically reviewing 122 PR news releases in the past year, our reviewers have only graded 5 PR releases with a top 5-star score.  And one came this week – for a news release from Washington University in Saint Louis, “To Prevent Infection After C-Section, Chlorhexidine Better Than Iodine.”  Our reviewers noted:  “Like another release we […]

7 2/10/2016

Groups push pharma agenda under the guise of patient advocacy

There’s nothing like a new Astroturf group to confuse the public. Astroturfers gather ordinary citizens from the grassroots to advocate for various causes while in reality shilling for the trade associations, PR firms, corporations, and political organizations that set them up. Now along comes a new patient advocacy organization, Patients Rising and its sister group […]


Chocolate prevents preeclampsia? How a medical society’s poor PR helped drive this misleading message

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with a statement from Dr. Sean Blackwell, the program chair for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine conference where the preeclampsia/flavanol research was presented. Please scroll to the bottom to view his comments. Fresh on the heels of a debacle involving flawed communications about chocolate milk and concussions at the University […]


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