Health News Review
  • Feb 3 2015

    It’s good to see others get in on the media watchdog work

    We can’t cover everything, so it’s nice to see other sharp-eyed observers jump in to comment on media messages such as the following. Journalist Larry Husten reacted quickly today, posting, “No, Too Much Jogging Probably Won’t Kill You.”  Excerpt: Once again lazy health journalists have fallen down on the job and performed a disservice to [...]

  • Jan 30 2015

    Click-bait “science” news: binge-watching-TV analysis

    The NBC website posted a story, “Binge-watching TV helps some people beat the blues.” Not only did the headline make this claim, but the second sentence did, too:  “…it may also be a way for some people who feel depressed or lonely to beat the blues.” Hmmm. Our managing editor, Kevin Lomangino, and I [...]

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  • Jan 29 2015

    What was missing in many stories about sugary drinks & girls’ 1st periods

    A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that “more frequent sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption was associated with earlier menarche (age at first menstrual cycle) in a population of US girls.” The data came from questionnaires filled out by 9 to 14 year old girls.  A built-in limitation of this kind of research is [...]

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  • Jan 23 2015

    Squelching rage when reading “Twitter knows when you’re going to have a heart attack”

    That was the headline of a story that began:  “Twitter’s fast pace and knack for promoting public spats can surely raise heart rates and get the proverbial blood boiling, but the platform known for hashtags and half-formed thoughts can also predict heart attacks — or at least rates of heart disease.” It’s a story [...]

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  • Jan 22 2015

    Coffee & melanoma: add to annals of abused translation of observational research

    The annals of confusing news stories about observational studies showing an association between coffee and…fill in the blank…have a new entry. Do a Google search for “coffee and melanoma” and you’ll get thousands of returns. Many of these stories inappropriately used causal language – suggesting that a cause-and-effect had been proven, when it hadn’t. TIME, [...]

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  • Jan 20 2015

    “Potential biomarker that could predict”? – caveats about psychiatric brain imaging & blogging about it

    The following is a guest blog post by Susan Molchan, MD.  Dr. Molchan is a psychiatrist in practice in Bethesda, Maryland. She also trained in nuclear medicine and did PET research at the National Institute of Mental Health, and worked as the program director for Biomarkers, Diagnosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease at the National Institute on [...]

  • Jan 16 2015

    The Friday file of things I wish I’d addressed earlier

    Better late than never, here’s some interesting catch-up reading. An Analysis piece in The BMJ by Ronald Koretz, Kenny Lin, John Ioannidis and Jeanne Lenzer, “Is widespread screening for hepatitis C justified?“  The key messages, as summarized in The BMJ:  The CDC and other major organisations are recommending birth cohort population screening for hepatitis C [...]

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  • Jan 14 2015

    Important and rare: A science reporter’s reflections on a controversial story

    On ScienceInsider for the American Association for the Advance of Science, science writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel writes, “Bad luck and cancer: A science reporter’s reflections on a controversial story.” She looks back at the brouhaha caused by a paper published in Science on January 2, by a news release from Johns Hopkins University (home of the paper’s [...]

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  • Jan 13 2015

    Don’t let news-release-copying journalists off the hook so easily. It’s journalism, not stenography.

    A BBC story keeps the “bad luck and cancer” story alive for at least another day, with a headline, “So is cancer mostly ‘bad luck’ or not?” The story begins: Headline-writers and news bulletin editors around the world just couldn’t get enough of a new study of cancer published on 2 January. “Two thirds of cancers are due [...]

  • Jan 13 2015

    We should pay Richard Lehman tuition for the distance-learning he provides

    For me, a week isn’t complete without tidbits from Dr. Richard Lehman’s journal review blog for The BMJ. This week he analyzes widely-reported results of studies on breast cancer and heart disease: When I see a cancer trial in one of the top journals, I generally scan the abstract to see if there is anything [...]

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