Health News Review
  • Apr 3 2014

    Nuanced balance is not easily communicated on latest mammography study

    “A Systematic Assessment of Benefits and Risks to Guide Breast Cancer Screening Decisions” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week. It reached a conclusion that you might think few could disagree with – although on this topic one should never underestimate the potential for disagreement.  The authors wrote: “Mammography screening [...]

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  • Mar 25 2014

    8th straight – and maybe the last – Association of Health Care Journalists talk about HealthNewsReview.org

    This week, for the 8th straight year,  I’ll speak about the work of HealthNewsReview.org at an annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists – this one in Denver.  For this one – as I’ve done in the last couple of such workshops – I’ll tag team with Ivan Oransky, MD, vice president and [...]

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  • Mar 25 2014

    Honored with one of American Medical Writers Assn. highest awards

    Thanks to the American Medical Writers Association for announcing that I will receive one of the organization’s highest awards at its annual conference in Memphis in October. Details on the AMWA website. It is humbling to learn that past recipients include George Lundberg, John K. Iglehart, Anthony Fauci, Art Caplan, Sherwin Nuland, Jerome Groopman and [...]

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  • Mar 11 2014

    “Simple” blood test to predict if you’ll be alive in 5 years? Please….

    The obsession that some in journalism have with “simple” blood tests – the unquestioning “test for everything” mentality that shines through in so many stories – is, itself, bloodcurdling. Yesterday we wrote about how CNN stated that an Alzheimer’s test had “astonishing accuracy” – when another solid news story reported that “the accuracy fell short [...]

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  • Mar 10 2014

    Another conflicted journalism training event by the National Press Foundation

    On the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, Paul Raeburn writes, “Beware the National Press Foundation’s ‘Tips for High-Fidelity Science Reporting’ webinar.” The announcement by the National Press Foundation states: Any journalist who wants to improve her or his work on scientific topics will benefit from this webinar. It will highlight common challenges in communicating science and [...]

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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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  • Mar 8 2014

    Absolute versus relative risk – hyping the obesity decline statistics

    On Slate.com, Razib Khan wrote, “The Obesity Rate for Children Has Not Plummeted:  Despite what the New York Times tells you. The Times wasn’t alone in hyping “Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade,” reporting on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Dozens and dozens of stories [...]

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  • Mar 7 2014

    Robotic surgery roundup: great small paper journalism, new marketing/ad campaigns

    Since I think it’s a safe bet that not many of you regularly read The Bulletin newspaper of Bend, Oregon, I suggest you read a two-part series by Markian Hawryluk as just one indication of the difference one individual can make, no matter the size of the news organization. In part one, “Robot surgery is [...]

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  • Mar 6 2014

    Why the Scandinavian prostate cancer study doesn’t translate to the U.S.

    Lots of news coverage about a Scandinavian prostate cancer study.  Here’s a guest post on the study from Richard M. Hoffman, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and Staff Physician in the New Mexico VA Health Care System.  He has done story reviews and written blog posts [...]

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  • Feb 23 2014

    Star Tribune: Many dermatologists prefer lucrative cosmetic work to treating cancers

    Interesting story in the Star Tribune, on “Dermatology’s Tug of War.” Its primary theme – claims about a shortage of dermatologists – has been making headlines for a long time.  Some doubt whether there’s a real shortage.  (See dermatologist Orin Goldblum’s comments in this story, for example.) But the secondary theme is what intrigues me:  [...]

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