Health News Review
  • Aug 7 2014

    Wording on “Low vitamin D boosts Alzheimer’s/dementia risk” is wrong

    The BBC headlined it, “Low vitamin D boosts dementia risk.”  And countless blogs and Twitter messages parroted that same line.  Erroneously. Because, as the BBC story itself went on to explain: “We need to be cautious at this early stage and our latest results do not demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia,” (the [...]

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  • Aug 6 2014

    Aspirin and cancer story more complicated than many are reporting

    Is it even worth it to draw attention to the UK Daily Mail’s headline this week calling aspirin a miracle pill? Yes, clearly it is, because many, many other stories around the globe hyped the story – although most of them short of the degree to which the Daily Mail did. Headlines were shouting advice [...]

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  • Aug 4 2014

    Ebola news notes, including ethical questions for CNN

    Just a few observations about the journalism involved in the Ebola news coverage. Faye Flam on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker wrote, “Ebola outbreak reaction shows why science writers are necessary.” She points to Maryn McKenna’s Superbug blog, in which Maryn called the “Ebola media scrum…disgraceful.”  But she also posts a long list of articles [...]

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  • Aug 3 2014

    Does “Manopause” really warrant one of TIME’s 52 covers this year?

    TIME magazine’s cover boy this week is a shirtless middle-aged man under the headline,”Manopause?! – Aging, insecurity and the $2 billion testosterone industry.” Overall, it was an interesting story, well told.  It discussed the hype, the amount of money some people are making off of Low T “therapies,”  the uncertainties, the potential hazards, and the [...]

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  • 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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