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 17 2015

    Sensational language – scary & fawning – in USNWR story on Cologuard colon cancer test

    Earlier this month, US News & World Report published a story, “Meet Cologuard: The Colon Cancer Test You Can Take At Home.” It profiles a man who had what is described as a “gruesome” experience from a colonoscopy 35 years ago – so bad “that he vowed never to have another screening test for colorectal [...]

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  • Feb 16 2015

    A new MD-journalist asks, “Is there a role for the physician-journalist?”

    Last week I wrote that NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar was placed into a conflict of interest situation when asked to comment on the air about a story concerning Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also called ME/CFS with a new proposal to call it Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease). Dr. Azar delivered her comments after being [...]

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  • Feb 12 2015

    Academic science journalism project unveils gaps in reporting research misconduct

    In JAMA Internal Medicine this week there’s an article that is especially newsworthy:  “Research Misconduct Identified by the US Food and Drug Administration:  Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Peer-Reviewed Literature.”  Excerpts: Every year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants [...]

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  • Feb 11 2015

    Brian Williams isn’t NBC’s only ethical problem; check medical news coverage issues

    So Brian Williams, it’s now reported, will be suspended without pay for 6 months by NBC News after his false claims about an experience during the Iraq war. A few months ago, NBC’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman was taken off the air after “a breach of her Ebola quarantine.”  Almost immediately, NBC brought [...]

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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

    More Bow Tie, Less Glitz Please: Breast Cancer Vaccine Promises Don’t Serve Readers/Viewers

    The following is a guest blog post from one of our new 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. ——————— Sometimes a news story feels like a scientific conference.  Half the time you’re [...]

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  • Feb 4 2015

    Why not discuss cost in news of new breast cancer drug approval?

    Reuters reports: U.S. FDA approves Pfizer’s high profile breast cancer drug. Language used: potential new standard of care one of the most promising medicines in Pfizer’s development pipeline could generate annual sales of $3 billion by 2020 Discussion of the drug’s cost: None MedPage Today reports: Palbociclib doubled progression-free survival in a pivotal study Language used: [...]

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