Health News Review
  • Nov 11 2014

    Pitt urologist peaved by prostate CA ads in NY Times & New Yorker

    Pitt urologist Benjamin Davies writes on a Forbes blog, “Prostate Cancer Advertising: Lies And The Damn Lies (Part 1).” He criticizes ads in the Sunday New York Times Magazine and in The New Yorker from last weekend. He writes: I have a rating system for prostate cancer advertisements based on two self-evident tenets.  First,  cancer advertising [...]

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  • Jul 1 2014

    Watch World Cup, get free skin CA screening – more hospital marketing

    It’s a new twist on “having skin in the game.” During today’s USA World Cup match, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City tweeted: Ok to cheer for the red, white and blue. But with these “free skin cancer screenings,” I wonder if people were told that: The US Preventive Services Task Force concludes “that [...]

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  • Jun 26 2014

    Questioning some of the ways in which new drug treatments are reported to the public

    While I’m working on a grant proposal to keep this project alive, my publishing efforts have fallen off a bit.  But it’s comforting to know that somebody else is doing some watchdog work – somebody like Paul Raeburn at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker. This week he wrote, “Cystic fibrosis breakthrough, or Wall Street coup?” [...]

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  • Jun 18 2014

    What stands out to me about the Oz Senate testimony

    There’s no need for me to go into the details of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s tough questioning by the The U.S Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance yesterday. It’s been widely covered. But of many troublesome things he said, one stands out to me:   “My job is [...]

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  • Jun 12 2014

    Proton beam therapy – radiation oncology group weighs in on the evidence (and lack thereof)

    Usually when I make suggestions to journalists about things to cover, I urge them to report on questions of evidence for two of the fastest growing and most expensive medical technologies:  proton beam radiation therapy and robotic surgery. Recently, the American Society for Radiation Oncology issued a new model policy for proton beam therapy. In [...]

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  • Feb 23 2014

    Star Tribune: Many dermatologists prefer lucrative cosmetic work to treating cancers

    Interesting story in the Star Tribune, on “Dermatology’s Tug of War.” Its primary theme – claims about a shortage of dermatologists – has been making headlines for a long time.  Some doubt whether there’s a real shortage.  (See dermatologist Orin Goldblum’s comments in this story, for example.) But the secondary theme is what intrigues me:  [...]

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  • Feb 6 2014

    Journalism via news release as Pfizer gets free publicity without releasing any data

    This week, Pfizer announced news from a trial of a drug for advanced breast cancer. The Pfizer news release stated “that the randomized Phase 2 trial [PALOMA-1] of palbociclib achieved its primary endpoint by demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for the combination of palbociclib and letrozole compared with [...]

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  • Oct 4 2013

    The crime of overstating a drug’s benefits in a news release

    David Brown wrote an interesting piece in the Washington Post two weeks ago, “The press-release conviction of a biotech CEO and its impact on scientific research.” Excerpt: “The press release described a clinical trial of interferon gamma-1b (sold as Actimmune) in 330 patients with a rapidly fatal lung disease. What’s unusual is that everyone agrees [...]

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  • Oct 4 2013

    Best practices for pink ribbon promotions

    Please note:  I know this is old news but I didn’t catch this a year ago.  It’s October again, so I think it’s legitimate to raise the issue again. I wonder if it’s made any difference.  Comments are welcome. October breast cancer awareness “pink ribbon” promotions have become so commonplace – and often so questionable [...]

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  • Oct 4 2013

    Take the visual quiz: Is it a hotel or a hospital?

    Catching up on this gem from two weeks ago:  the New York Times analysis, “Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?” Excerpt: “American hospitals are looking less and less like their more utilitarian counterparts in Europe, where the average hospital charges per day are often less than a quarter of those in the United States, [...]

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