Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

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  • Mar 24 2015

    Some journalists fire another “silver bullet” at Alzheimer’s amyloid target

    The following is a guest blog post from one of our regular contributors, Alan Cassels, who is an author, journalist, and drug policy researcher with an interest in how clinical research and experience on pharmaceuticals gets translated for policy-makers, prescribers and consumers. ————————– A March 20th story in the Boston Globe. “Biogen drug offers hope for [...]

  • Mar 23 2015

    Sponsored journalist training on “precision medicine”: Zeroing in on a conflict of interest

    The following is a guest post from Andrew Holtz, one of our longtime contributors, my former colleague at CNN, and a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists.  This is at least the sixth time that we have addressed National Press Foundation workshop funding on this site. ———————— The question came from multiple [...]

  • 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 [...]

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  • Mar 19 2015

    Nick Bilton blames readers for not knowing who Joseph Mercola is

    The following is a guest post by Kevin Lomangino, managing editor of He tweets as @Klomangino.  The New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan has an excellent post up about the fear-mongering cancer story that I wrote about yesterday. She acknowledges that the coverage on this story was lacking in many ways. She also notes that Nick Bilton [...]

  • Mar 18 2015

    Why is the New York Times turning to Joseph Mercola as an expert on cancer risk?

    The following is a guest post by Kevin Lomangino, managing editor of He tweets as @Klomangino.  Alert reader Bahar Gholipour (@Alterwired on Twitter) pointed us to a story appearing in today’s New York Times Style section about the potential cancer risks posed by wearable technology such as the new Apple Watch. With Gary out of the office [...]

  • 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 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 [...]

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  • Mar 3 2015

    A tale of two observational studies – peanuts, coffee, heart health – and how the journals & some journalists handled them differently

    I saw this coming as soon as I saw the BMJ news release about a study published in one of its journals, Heart. The BMJ, which seemed to have turned a corner recently, starting to include at least boilerplate news release language about the limitations of observational studies, dropped the ball on a new one. [...]