Health News Review
  • Mar 31 2015

    JACC cites our work in calling for journalists & researchers to share responsibility in protecting the public

    Dr. Valentin Fuster of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and editor of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, cites our work in his editorial, “Journalists and Researchers: Equal Responsibility in Protecting the Public.” Excerpts of his editorial: “Over the past 10 months in these Editor’s Pages, I have often encouraged [...]

    No Comments
  • Mar 30 2015

    More than half of 60 Minutes devoted to “Killing Cancer” but still no independent perspective

    The following is a guest blog post from a member of our editorial team, Tom Watkins, who worked at CNN for more than two decades.  He has a strong background in health/medical/science journalism. ————————— CBS News’ “60 Minutes” devoted a massive amount of time, resources and airtime to a story about an experimental treatment underway [...]

  • Mar 25 2015

    CBS: slow down the Alzheimer’s drug trial hype – 2 examples in 1 week.

    What follows are the third and fourth Alzheimer’s disease news items we’ve reviewed in the last 3 days.  This could be a full-time beat. Perhaps some of what we’re seeing was prompted by The Alzheimer’s Association conducting its “advocacy forum” in Washington this week, with a national fundraising dinner last night (with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer [...]

    1 Comment
  • Mar 23 2015

    Questions for TIME about its prediction of a pill to make us more compassionate

    I was challenged by a fellow health care journalist to address a story by, with this headline, “There Could Soon Be a Pill to Make Us More Compassionate.” The story reports that, in “a new study, published in the journal Current Biology…A group led by researchers at University of California Berkeley and University of California [...]

  • Mar 12 2015

    “Acting as though statistical significance implies truth isn’t even approximately correct” – part 3 of a series

    Is a P-value of 0.05 sacrosanct? As I asked trusted sources about statistical significance, one road led clearly to Dr. Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is a fellow of the American Statistical Association.  If you’ve heard his name, it may have been in the context of breast cancer.  Since 1990 he has [...]

  • Mar 11 2015

    Are P-values above .05 really just statistical noise? Part 2 of 3

    When a journalist asked me a question about statistical significance recently, it opened my eyes to how little attention I’ve given the topic on this site.  And as I started looking around, I found that there are some gems to guide understanding, but they’re not widely recognized. Let’s look at a news example first. 9 [...]

  • Mar 10 2015

    Statistically significant: where to draw the line? Part 1 of series to help journalists/readers

    I’ve decided it’s time to address statistical significance –  because I don’t think many journalists understand this concept very well. At a very high, introductory level, you could say that it’s an attempt to judge the probability that something we think we have found is due only to random chance. (Addendum 2 hours later:  I should [...]

  • Mar 4 2015

    And, in the mice are not people department of……….

    On today, “New Hormone Discovered That Curbs Weight Gain, Diabetes Just Like Exercise.” Here’s a fun little reader survey: Should the fact that this research was only done in mice be: in the first sentence? or only in the last sentence (which is where it appeared) ? Ideally should the story link to: the [...]

  • Mar 4 2015

    BMJ back on bad track with its news releases: now gout & Alzheimer’s

    Biostatistician Dr. Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center wrote to me recently, “My assessment of the landscape of observational studies, including much of epidemiology, ranges from bleak to parched earth.” That should get your attention about why we – all of us who communicate about research findings – need to do a better job [...]

    No Comments
  • Mar 2 2015

    Heartburn Hell on the NBC Today Show: omitting things consumers might want to know about a $14K device

    The following is a guest blog post from one of our contributors, veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman. Trudy keeps an eye out for the way in which health care topics are promoted to the public, and this is one of the latest to catch her eye. ———————– Imagine a world where no one would suffer [...]