Health News Review
  • Jan 29 2015

    What was missing in many stories about sugary drinks & girls’ 1st periods

    A study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that “more frequent sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption was associated with earlier menarche (age at first menstrual cycle) in a population of US girls.” The data came from questionnaires filled out by 9 to 14 year old girls.  A built-in limitation of this kind of research is [...]

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  • Jan 28 2015

    Pharma payments to network TV physician-journalists – Columbia Journalism Review

    I’m late on this, but it’s noteworthy.  Paul Thacker, journalist and former investigator for the US Senate Finance Committee investigating medical research conflicts of interest, published a new piece in the Columbia Journalism Review last week.  It’s entitled: “Database may uncover conflicts of interest for TV doctors – Free lunches, paid speaking gigs & free [...]

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  • Jan 28 2015

    Can we learn anything from Japanese study of cancer news reporting?

    A new analysis, “How do medical journalists treat cancer-related issues?” was published in the journal ecancermedicalscience It’s by Japanese researchers looking at Japanese news coverage.  An excerpt of their findings: “This study provides important information about journalists who publish articles on cancer. First, the selection of topics is clearly biased; for example, aggressive treatments and [...]

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  • Jan 27 2015

    Knee/hip surgery cost variability news would help more if it provided a link to the Blue Cross Blue Shield report

    The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association recently published a report “A Study of Cost Variations for Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries in the U.S. ,” that reported these key findings: Some hospitals across the U.S. charge tens of thousands of dollars more than others for the same medical procedures, even within the same metropolitan market. [...]

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  • Jan 22 2015

    Coffee & melanoma: add to annals of abused translation of observational research

    The annals of confusing news stories about observational studies showing an association between coffee and…fill in the blank…have a new entry. Do a Google search for “coffee and melanoma” and you’ll get thousands of returns. Many of these stories inappropriately used causal language – suggesting that a cause-and-effect had been proven, when it hadn’t. TIME, [...]

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  • Jan 21 2015

    Cleveland Clinic Tweets Misleading Claim That Lives On and On

    The following is the first guest blog post from one of our new contributors, veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman. Another veteran, Andrew Holtz, also contributes.  I shudder to think that, among the 3 of us, we have well more than 100 years of journalism experience, but I’m thankful for what that means in bringing [...]

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  • Jan 20 2015

    “Potential biomarker that could predict”? – caveats about psychiatric brain imaging & blogging about it

    The following is a guest blog post by Susan Molchan, MD.  Dr. Molchan is a psychiatrist in practice in Bethesda, Maryland. She also trained in nuclear medicine and did PET research at the National Institute of Mental Health, and worked as the program director for Biomarkers, Diagnosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease at the National Institute on [...]

  • Jan 19 2015

    Tribune Company drags down LA Times health news effort by plunking TV story inside of it

    [Correction:  As the first commenter (at the bottom of the page) points out, I was outdated and inaccurate in referring to The Tribune Company.  There are now two companies:  Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing.  Nonetheless, the placement of this Tribune Media property's TV story within the Tribune Publishing property's newspaper/online story was odd and unhelpful [...]

  • Jan 16 2015

    The Friday file of things I wish I’d addressed earlier

    Better late than never, here’s some interesting catch-up reading. An Analysis piece in The BMJ by Ronald Koretz, Kenny Lin, John Ioannidis and Jeanne Lenzer, “Is widespread screening for hepatitis C justified?“  The key messages, as summarized in The BMJ:  The CDC and other major organisations are recommending birth cohort population screening for hepatitis C [...]

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  • Jan 14 2015

    Important and rare: A science reporter’s reflections on a controversial story

    On ScienceInsider for the American Association for the Advance of Science, science writer Jennifer Couzin-Frankel writes, “Bad luck and cancer: A science reporter’s reflections on a controversial story.” She looks back at the brouhaha caused by a paper published in Science on January 2, by a news release from Johns Hopkins University (home of the paper’s [...]

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