Health News Review
  • Sep 15 2014

    “Catastrophizing parlance” about diabetes

    Earlier today, I published a critique of a news story that was imbalanced in its reporting about pre-diabetes.  The story referred to a “national health crisis.” In his weekly BMJ blog reviewing journals, Dr. Richard Lehman addressed other hyperbolic language used to describe Type 2 diabetes.  He wrote:  In the catastrophizing parlance of the Lancet, [...]

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  • Sep 15 2014

    USA Today story shows lack of awareness of debate over pre-diabetes classification

    USA Today published a story, “Pre-diabetes, diabetes rates fuel national health crisis.” But the story fails to note one word of caution or skepticism about the definition of pre-diabetes.  Just two months ago, Victor Montori of the Mayo Clinic and John Yudkin of University College London wrote in The BMJ, “The epidemic of pre-diabetes:  the [...]

  • Sep 8 2014

    Competition between “cure” and “breakthrough” on MS story — in mice

    A paper in the journal Nature Communications reported on a mouse study of a condition similar to multiple sclerosis. Mice.  And mice only. But look at how it was reported.  There was competition betweenhow many stories would claim “breakthrough” versus how many would claim “cure.” The Daily Express in the UK:  “Could a cure for [...]

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  • Sep 4 2014

    Family’s pursuit of proton beam therapy is focus of international controversy

    Proton beam therapy – which I’ve written about many times – is in the headlines for new reasons, including: a little boy with brain cancer charges of denial of treatment “an international manhunt” extradition hearing a statement by the British Prime Minister A Google search comes up with more than 2,000 returns on the story.  [...]

  • Sep 3 2014

    After Barcelona buzz wears off, questions remain about new heart drugs

    From the big European Society of Cardiology annual meeting in Barcelona come these headlines: Cholesterol Drug Halves Heart Attack and Stroke in Early Test Magic Cholesterol Pill Halves Heart Attack Risk The first was from the New York Times, picking up a Reuters story. Seeing that, Yale’s Dr. Harlan Krumholz tweeted: “This @nytimes headline sends [...]

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  • Aug 23 2014

    Robotic surgery company objects to tough journalism; objections & responses posted

    Men’s Health magazine deserves credit not only for its tough story, “What’s Wrong with Robotic Surgery?” by an excellent journalist, Laura Beil, earlier this year.  But when Intuitive Surgical, manufacturer of the DaVinci robotic surgical system, objected to the piece, Men’s Health posted a point-by-point response to the objections. A double dose of good journalism, [...]

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  • Aug 22 2014

    Predatory journal: “good way to make an income & defraud scientific community”

    Applause for Tom Spears of The Ottawa Citizen for his piece, “Respected medical journal turns to dark side.” He begins: “A respected Canadian medical journal that was sold to offshore owners last year is now printing scientific junk for hire, but still trading on its original good name. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was published in Oakville, Ont., [...]

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  • Aug 22 2014

    Here’s how the new FDA-approved colon cancer test could have been covered

    Los Angeles Times business/consumer columnist David Lazarus writes, “A good alternative to having a colonoscopy?  Maybe not.” Excerpt: A Wisconsin company called Exact Sciences has launched a marketing campaign for its new product, Cologuard, which it hails as “the breakthrough test for colon cancer screening that’s as easy as going to the bathroom.” Although stool [...]

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  • Aug 21 2014

    Misleading PBS story: Study shows prostate cancer risk rises in male cyclists over 50

    One of our readers tipped me off to the flaws in this recent story posted by PBS Newshour. And if you read the reader comments left online in response to the story, you’ll see that she wasn’t the only one who was troubled.   For such a short story, there’s a lot wrong here. The [...]

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  • Aug 20 2014

    Smart journalism scrutinizes cancer screening issues

    Julia Belluz, on, wrote, “Older patients are getting screened way too often for cancer.“  She reported on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that concluded: “A substantial proportion of the US population with limited life expectancy received prostate, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening that is unlikely to provide [...]

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