Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

    No Comments
  • 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 [...]

    2 Comments
  • 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 – [...]

    5 Comments
  • 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 [...]

    2 Comments
  • 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 [...]

    4 Comments
  • 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 [...]

    5 Comments
  • 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:  [...]

    2 Comments
  • Feb 20 2014

    “Medical Matters” program debuts on Public Radio Tulsa

    I’m pleased to be part of a radio series on Public Radio Tulsa for at least the next four weeks.  It’s called “Medical Matters,” hosted by Dr. John Schumann. The series debuts today. Each week, he’ll ask me to review 3 or 4 health care stories that caught my eye. You can listen by clicking [...]

    No Comments
  • Feb 19 2014

    Health/science news criticism: “nothing at stake here except the survival of credible journalism”

    Paul Raeburn of the Knight Science Journalism Tracker wrote: The Washington Post announced Tuesday that it will stop reprinting university and other press releases in its Health & Science section following the disclosure of the practice by the Knight Science Journalism Tracker last Friday. The fact that a blogger like Raeburn had to be the [...]

    1 Comment
  • Feb 6 2014

    Journalism via news release as Pfizer gets free publicity without releasing any data

    This week, Pfizer announced news from a trial of a drug for advanced breast cancer. The Pfizer news release stated “that the randomized Phase 2 trial [PALOMA-1] of palbociclib achieved its primary endpoint by demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for the combination of palbociclib and letrozole compared with [...]

    5 Comments