Health News Review
  • Aug 22 2013

    Selling the Cyberknife on WCCO’s CBS HealthWatch

    I’m watching local news on my local CBS affiliate, WCCO, the other night. And I wake up from the daze of crime and creampuff stories to see that there’s a story about the Cyberknife “radiosurgery” system at a local health care provider, HealthEast. I see brief clips with two satisfied patients, an interview with a [...]

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  • May 30 2013

    To a man with a new hammer….marketing claims of robotic “firsts” piling up

    Health care marketing of robotic surgery systems knows no bounds.  At the end of this piece, you can see a list of past posts on this marketing trend. Besides the explosive use in prostate surgery, we’ve seen promotions of robotic “firsts” for: first robotic cholecystectomy first TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) to treat sleep apnea first [...]

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  • May 22 2013

    Doc complains, gets “misleading” bus ads promoting screening banned

    On a BMJ blog, Dr. Margaret McCartney writes about her irritation after seeing ads on the side of buses in Glasgow (where she lives) promoting screening tests but not divulging that this was to recruit people into clinical trials.  She and her daughter took photos of the ads, and she shared those with me:   [...]

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  • May 14 2013

    News story shines light on hospitals promoting questionable screenings

    Kudos to Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News, and the Washington Post for publishing the story, “Hospitals promote screenings that experts say many people do not need.” It’s a story that is reported infrequently, even though it could be reported any time in almost any city in the US – the practice is that widespread. The [...]

  • May 7 2013

    Real time or hospital time? Analyzing ER wait time claims

    Last week we spent all week poking holes in various medical marketing claims on this blog.  Shall we have another go at it this week? Karen Shiffman of WBUR in Boston cut herself while cutting flowers, went to the ER, and then tested the advertising claim that this particular ER would only have a 19 [...]

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  • May 3 2013

    Knee replacement surgery isn’t like peeling an apple; things young prospective patients should know

    So I’m watching the evening network TV news the other night – I know, silly me – and I see this commercial pop up that visualizes artificial knee joint replacement surgery like peeling an apple. Now part of the ad pitch is that this is for “partial knee replacement.” You know what?  Partial or not, [...]

  • Apr 21 2013

    Star Tribune tries to be cute about colonoscopy, misses boat on alternatives

    We often write about incomplete, imbalanced stories we see about screening tests. My local paper, the Star Tribune, published a doozie this weekend. The online story headline was:  Baby boomers embracing colonoscopies In print, it was:  Look At The Upside The subhead was the same in either format: “From highway billboards to celebrities, everyone is [...]

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  • Apr 4 2013

    TIME, TIME Warner ethical questions raised in cancer coverage

    Last week we posted Seth Mnookin’s criticism of TIME magazine’s cover story, “How to Cure Cancer.” We didn’t, at first, comment on Paul Raeburn’s analysis on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, “TIME magazine wins the war on cancer!” But now Raeburn is back with a new angle, writing that “TIME violates industry advertising guidelines in [...]

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  • Apr 4 2013

    Drug marketing blamed for increase in ADHD diagnoses

    A Minneapolis-area psychiatrist, Charles Dean, published an opinion piece in the Star Tribune, “Rise in ADHD cases is due to marketing.“ It appeared adjacent to the Strib’s republishing of the NYT op-ed piece, “Diagnosis:  Human,” by Ted Gup – that we blogged about yesterday. Dr. Dean writes: “The 53 percent increase in the diagnosis of [...]

  • Jan 3 2013

    Cyberknife ads – one example of increasing excess of hospital marketing

    We’ve been following claims for Cyberknife “knife-less surgery” for a long time.  See search results from our blog. We’ve seen billboards promoting it in the metropolitan health care market we live in.   And big East Coast medical centers promoting it at subway stops. But only recently did we start noticing many TV commercials promoting [...]