Where does the hype come from? A news release/news story comparison

Hype in health news stories often originates with an exaggerated news release from an academic institution, research suggests. But news releases aren’t always to blame when journalists make over-the-top claims about a study. Sometimes, the news release can do an excellent job of presenting a careful, cautious summary of the research that emphasizes limitations and […]


Podcast on overdiagnosis & radiology: the arsonist & the firefighter

Professional definition: Radiologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries using medical imaging techniques, such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine, positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasound. Dr. Saurabh Jha says his profession can be both the arsonist and the firefighter with overdiagnosis. Jha, a radiologist at the Hospital […]

5 9/15/2015

Sniffing out the truth on dueling aromatherapy studies

The following is a guest post by Earle Holland, who, for almost 35 years, was the senior science and medical communications officer at Ohio State University. He’s been a member of our editorial team since January. It started as a Facebook post from a friend of a friend, a comment excitedly anticipating the arrival of […]

3 9/14/2015

Low pulse = higher crime rate? Cause-and-effect confusion in heart rate/crime stories

An LA Times story crossed our radar recently with what seemed like an exceptionally provocative premise: “What if a test could identify young men who were nearly 50% more likely than their peers to become violent criminals?” To me, this sounded like something out of the 2002 Tom Cruise sci-fi flick Minority Report — which […]

1 9/14/2015

Dr. Richard Lehman: Why does having abnormal glucose tests cost the USA $245bn?

Dr. Richard Lehman’s journal review blog for The BMJ is one of my favorite weekly reads. Today he comments on last week’s study that led to all of the news coverage claiming that half of all Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. He wrote: Now when I read most of the literature about diabetes I feel […]

7 9/11/2015

NIH, news media, need to slow down on the SPRINT hype

This post has been updated with additional expert commentary on the SPRINT trial and the NIH’s announcement regarding the results (scroll to the bottom). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today made an announcement about the SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial) study that is making big waves across the world of health care. Landmark […]

6 9/11/2015

Idolatry of the surrogate: Overdiagnosis in diabetes – podcast with Dr. John S. Yudkin

Our new podcast features an important topic:  Is there overdiagnosis of diabetes?  Is the creation of the term and the diagnosis of “pre-diabetes” another form of over diagnosis? The topic was addressed 4 years ago in an article called “The Idolatry of the Surrogate” in The BMJ.  One of the authors, Dr. John S. Yudkin is […]

6 9/10/2015

Half of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes? Really? What does that mean?

Headlines and stories across the US are blaring the apparently frightening news: The Los Angeles Times: Diabetes nation? Half of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes WebMD skips the pre-diabetes discussion and jumps right in with: Diabetes a Concern for Half of Americans NBC News: Half of Americans Have Diabetes or High Blood Sugar This is all based on […]

4 9/10/2015

Slick congressional PR campaign relentlessly plugs 21st Century Cures Act

Contributor Trudy Lieberman has been tracking the progress of the 21st Century Cures Act through Congress. She’s previously written about how the bill would relax consumer safety protections related to medical devices. In a future post she’ll be examining how current FDA regulations are already allowing many faulty, unproven devices on the market — and […]

1 9/9/2015

Yo-yo stories on optimum weight and Alzheimer’s risk — inappropriate language keeps readers’ heads spinning

Research into lifestyle factors that may increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life is very important considering the disease’s nasty profile as well as its reach among the elderly. The first of the 74 million “baby boomers” (born between 1946 and 1964) have been reaching 65-year-old senior status at the rate of […]


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