Health News Review
  • Jan 5 2014

    Journalists: don’t use the term “massive” heart attack if you don’t know what you’re talking about

    A popular ex-Minneapolis mayor, 58-year old R.T. Rybak, had just left office last week. Then, yesterday, a local hospital announced: “Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak came to the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Emergency Department about 1 p.m. today by ambulance complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains after cross-country skiing 7.7 miles in Theodore Wirth [...]

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  • Dec 13 2013

    Doing an autopsy on a feel-good local TV health news story…and the harms therein

    On the Skeptic Ink website, William London, EdD, MPH, a public health professor at California State University, Los Angeles, writes: “On July 12, 2013, I came upon a video recording and transcript of a typical feel-good local news feature: Local doctor battles cancer through natural healing. It appeared on KGET, the NBC affiliate station in [...]

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  • Oct 16 2013

    Atlanta TV station has newsmen promoting prostate cancer screening

    We interrupt breast cancer awareness month messages to bring you some prostate cancer awareness news. After we wrote about problems with a Buffalo prostate cancer screening promotion, reader Ken Leebow of Atlanta wrote to me about what the NBC station in Atlanta has been doing. What is particularly problematic in this campaign is that journalists [...]

    4 Comments
  • Oct 16 2013

    Journalists addicted to “Oreos as addictive as cocaine” news release

    Vapid news filling the news void.  And when you read the stories, they are strikingly, mindlessly identical.  40 and counting on a web search by 8 a.m. Central time today. “Do you sometimes feel like you’re addicted to Oreos? Well, that might not be as crazy as it seems,” reports a St. Louis TV station. [...]

    2 Comments
  • Sep 18 2013

    Coach’s sideline seizures lead to newspaper criticism, public firestorm of reaction

    If you don’t live in Minnesota and you don’t follow college football, you may not have heard about this continuing controversy. University of Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill has had several epileptic seizures on the sidelines during games in recent years.  He had his third in three years last weekend. The coach declined to discuss [...]

    2 Comments
  • Sep 12 2013

    Let me count the ways I’m troubled by this NBC News.com “cookies & cancer” story

    The story came to my attention when I saw Twitter comments such as “How not to communicate about cancer risk factors.  Oy.” That was in reference to an NBC Today Health website piece entitled, “Drop the cookie:  Sweet, starchy foods ‘probably’ cause women’s cancer.“  It was based on the report, whose cover page appears at [...]

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  • Sep 10 2013

    This is nuts: news coverage stating that great Dads have smaller testicles

    This is the kind of news coverage about a study that results in science and journalism about science losing credibility.  To get warmed up, check some of the headlines: Great dads have smaller testicles, study suggests – CBC Study: Choose Dads With Smaller ‘Nads – TIME Study:  You may be a terrible dad because you [...]

    2 Comments
  • Aug 22 2013

    Selling the Cyberknife on WCCO’s CBS HealthWatch

    I’m watching local news on my local CBS affiliate, WCCO, the other night. And I wake up from the daze of crime and creampuff stories to see that there’s a story about the Cyberknife “radiosurgery” system at a local health care provider, HealthEast. I see brief clips with two satisfied patients, an interview with a [...]

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  • Aug 2 2013

    Back to school anti-vaccination woo

    We’re already seeing back-to-school shopping specials – even though it’s just the second day of August. And we’re already seeing some anti-vaccination campaigns getting in full gear as well, reflecting on regulations requiring parents to have kids’ vaccinations up to date prior to the start of school. In a piece labeled, “Doctors Debate Need for [...]

    12 Comments
  • Jul 18 2013

    Enjoying some coffee enema hype with your morning Chicago Tribune website visit

    Normally, I wouldn’t consider as “news” something that is clearly a “Dear Pharmacist” column.  However, the Chicago Tribune website labels this as one of its “Top Stories” so if they want to call it news, we’re going to fire away, ridiculous as that labeling may be. The screenshot below shows how the story appears on [...]

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