Health News Review
  • Feb 19 2015

    Dr. Manny, The Medicine Hunter, and a wild, psychoactive trip on network TV

    We could subtitle this:  Ayahuasca And The Anaconda. For about 8 minutes on Fox News the other day, Dr. Manny Alvarez, the network’s Senior Managing Editor for Health News, turned over the tube to Chris Kilham, the self-proclaimed Medicine Hunter, to promote his new book and to share 8 minutes of data-free psychedelic drug hype. If my [...]

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  • Feb 18 2015

    British website gets “sassy” on Twitter about flawed health care journalism

    London-based BuzzFeed reporter Jamie Ross writes, “The NHS Is Calling Out Journalists On Twitter For Getting Their Facts Wrong.” The NHS is the British National Health Service. The NHS contracts with a company called Bazian to look “Behind the Headlines” on health news stories. We’ve written several times about the project.  For example: Rise in cancer [...]

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  • Feb 13 2015

    Who funded the research? It’s always an important question.

    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, often with a special focus on how health care policy might be influenced by news and health care communication. ———————— [...]

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  • Feb 10 2015

    Criticism of Toronto Star story on HPV vaccine Gardasil’s “dark side”

    From Vox.com – “How the Toronto Star massively botched a story about the HPV vaccine.”  It begins: “On Thursday, the Toronto Star, one of the largest newspapers in North America and the most-read in Canada, published a story that is everything wrong with vaccine reporting in one dangerous package. The story was, at its core, a collection of [...]

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  • Feb 10 2015

    CDC, conflicting (conflicted?) info, Tamiflu & unquestioning news reporting

    The following is a guest blog post from Jeanne Lenzer, an independent journalist and an associate editor for The BMJ.  Just last week, she published an important piece in that journal about the CDC, the FDA and the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir).  This piece is related. ———————— The oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Roche/Genentech/Gilead) story is filled with [...]

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  • Feb 9 2015

    Endometrial cancer joins the “coffee club” in which association ≠ causation

    Did the latest round of causal claims about a coffee observational study stem from a news release? I’m betting so, because not many journalists I know regularly read the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers & Prevention, which is where the latest coffee study appeared. Indeed, that’s a journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research.  AACR [...]

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  • Feb 5 2015

    Lots of reporting & CDC criticism in BMJ piece on antiviral drug Tamiflu

    There are all sorts of evidentiary questions swirling around the use of the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).  And then there is the politics – if that’s what you can call the statements and actions of federal agencies about the drug. Jeanne Lenzer has a new feature in The BMJ, “Why aren’t the US Centers for [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • Jan 30 2015

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

    The NBC Today.com/health 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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