Health News Review
  • Jul 10 2014

    BringMeTheNews website brings you dark chocolate study hype – minus the caveats

    Oh, how journalists love studies about dark chocolate. See some past examples I’ve collected. Recently I wrote: “We flood the American public with “health” news every day.  And the overload may very well cause confusion and disorientation about what’s important in health and wellness in our everyday lives….We’re losing people, drowning them in a sea [...]

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  • Jul 9 2014

    What women need to know about USNWR’s “16 Health Screenings All Women Need”

    When I see a headline such as “16 Health Screenings All Women Need,” I steel myself for what comes next. “All women need“? What came next in the US News & World Report column was a list of recommendations that included imbalance, incompleteness, and more controversy than the column suggests. For example: On clinical breast [...]

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  • Jul 8 2014

    What does an 87% accurate Alzheimer’s test mean? Not much without positive predictive value.

    What does it mean to say that a new test is 87% accurate? I think most journalists writing about a paper published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia could not satisfactorily answer that question – about a statistic they repeatedly quoted in stories about that paper. The answer is:  Not much, if you don’t take [...]

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  • Jul 1 2014

    Conflict of interest: ABC allows Ob-Gyn/”journalist” to report her opinion on pelvic exam recommendations

    From MedPageToday: Average-risk, asymptomatic women do not benefit from pelvic exams as part of routine care and face potential harms from false-positive results, according to a new clinical guideline. When screening for cervical cancer, clinicians should limit the physical examination to visual inspection of the cervix and use of cervical swabs for cancer or human [...]

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  • Jun 27 2014

    A couple of docs react strongly to NYT “Well” blog post on vitamin D screening

    The US Preventive Services Task Force this week released new draft guidelines on screening for Vitamin D deficiency. The draft “concludes that current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for vitamin D deficiency.”  Other bullet points: There is no consensus definition of vitamin D deficiency the accuracy of [...]

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  • Jun 26 2014

    Questioning some of the ways in which new drug treatments are reported to the public

    While I’m working on a grant proposal to keep this project alive, my publishing efforts have fallen off a bit.  But it’s comforting to know that somebody else is doing some watchdog work – somebody like Paul Raeburn at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker. This week he wrote, “Cystic fibrosis breakthrough, or Wall Street coup?” [...]

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  • Jun 26 2014

    Readers react to mouse fitness study on NY Times “Well” blog – and I agree

    Earlier this week I praised one New York Times blog piece. But I have a quite different reaction to another I just read. The Times’ “Well” blog published a piece, “For Fitness, Push Yourself.“  It was about tips for you. The column fits in among other recent personal health postings on the blog on: heart [...]

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  • Jun 25 2014

    Which journalists reported an extra dimension on the 3-D mammography story?

    Faithful to the latest journal article, many news organizations dutifully reported what they were told by authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography.“  The list of stories that resorted to sensational language – breakthrough, game-changer, best way of detection, [...]

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  • Jun 23 2014

    A bionic pancreas! The true and Holy Grail! – BMJ blog sarcasm with a lesson

    I don’t think that Dr. Richard Lehman was addressing last week’s news coverage of the artificial pancreas when he wrote in his weekly journal review on a BMJ blog: A hush falls over the great cathedral as the evening light grows dim. As if from above, unearthly music fills the incense laden air. The kneeling [...]

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  • Jun 13 2014

    Robotic surgery news & marketing – misrepresentation of evidence

    “Under the glare of an operating theatre lamp….” Here it comes:  another drooling, fawning news story about robotic surgery – this time from The Guardian in the UK under the headline, “Newcastle hospital’s £2m robot transforms medical operations.” It was surprising to see how unquestioning the story was. The subheadline: “Dexterity of Da Vinci robot [...]

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