Health News Review
  • Jun 10 2014

    How predictive and productive is animal research?

    That’s a question BMJ editor in chief Fiona Godlee raises in a piece all health care and science journalists should ponder before penning their next rodent research story. And it should help news consumers put animated animal research claims into context as well. She discusses “the poor quality of the animal research on which much [...]

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  • Jun 10 2014

    Slow down on making claims for semen test for prostate cancer

    Recently, all sorts of sensational headlines popped up about: Semen test may improve prostate cancer detection Semen test for prostate cancer helps diagnose early warning signs Prostate cancer accurately identified with semen test Prostate cancer diagnosis may be more accurate with semen test Semen test is latest diagnostic prostate cancer tool and may be best [...]

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  • Mar 10 2014

    On Alzheimer’s study, standout stories evaluated both evidence & ethics

    A study published in Nature Medicine is sending journalists tumbling over each other with enthusiasm for claims that a blood test could help predict Alzheimer’s disease. Dozens and dozens of stories reported the study with no independent scientific perspective and with little or no discussion of the ethics questions involved in an Alzheimer’s test – [...]

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  • Feb 24 2014

    Bohemian Polypharmacy – latest in clever YouTube video series

    I don’t know how James McCormack, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia, finds time to produce these videos, but I’m a big fan.  His latest is “Bohemian Polypharmacy” – a parody of Queen’s classic song “Bohemian Rhapsody” – a song all about polypharmacy – taking more medicines than are clinically indicated. [...]

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  • Feb 4 2014

    My weekly fix from Richard Lehman’s journal review blog

    Jut a few gems from the February 3 edition: “Oh great. Another phase 2 study of a pricey monoclonal antibody to address the “epidemic of osteoporosis,” i.e. a pharma-driven epidemic of overdiagnosis in older women. With a nice surrogate end point: bone mineral density, which bears an oblique relationship to fracture risk. And, in a [...]

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  • Jan 21 2014

    Journalists have “systematic bias” to cover weaker studies

    A paper in PLoS One, “Media Coverage of Medical Journals: Do the Best Articles Make the News?” answers a resounding “No.” Excerpt: Media outlets must make choices when deciding which studies deserve public attention. We sought to examine if there exists a systematic bias favoring certain study design in the choice of articles covered in [...]

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  • Jan 2 2014

    Too many unaddressed questions in too many stories about vitamin E for Alzheimer’s

    On December 31 there may not have been much news.  Journalists may have grown tired of “Best of 2013″ or “Top 10 whatever” stories.  So a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association that reports that “patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease had slower functional decline” after taking big doses of Vitamin [...]

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  • Dec 13 2013

    First the hype, now the science – platelet-rich plasma therapy in orthopedics

    A paper in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons on platelet-rich plasma in orthopedic uses raises questions about the proliferation of that approach:  “for many conditions, there is limited reliable clinical evidence to guide the use of PRP. Furthermore, classification systems and identification of differences among products are needed to understand the [...]

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  • Dec 12 2013

    The unvarying story of health care variations – Dartmouth Atlas on children’s care

    Jack Wennberg made his mark by documenting health care variations in the way certain services were utilized – even in adjacent communities in New England. One of the early signs that caught his attention was when his own kids were of the tonsillectomy age. He found, as Reuters recalls, “that rates of tonsillectomy are 60 [...]

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  • Dec 10 2013

    Last week “clinical trial system broken”; this week “luxury journals distort/damage science”

    In the BMJ recently: “The clinical trial system is broken and it’s getting worse, according to longstanding Food and Drug Administration investigator, Thomas Marciniak. … “Drug companies have turned into marketing machines. They’ve kind of lost sight of the fact that they’re actually doing something which involves your health,” Marciniak says. “You’ve got to take [...]

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