Health News Review
  • Nov 16 2012

    Up the nose…in the armpit…what else can you do with testosterone?

    Putting the update at the top:  hours after posting this, I’ve now been told there are, indeed, anal testosterone suppositories. Thanks to Leonore Tiefer for this tip: The newest “female sexual dysfunction drug” hitting the PR waves is a nasal testosterone gel in clinical trials in the US, Canada and Australia. The Dinah Project website [...]

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  • Nov 5 2012

    Proton Beam Therapy: evaluating claims in ASTRO papers of “excellent” quality of life data

    Last week, the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s annual conference was held in Boston, and several papers were presented on proton beam therapy, and several medical centers sent out news releases about their involvement in the work.  MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston  and Loma Linda University Medical Center in California were two that we [...]

  • Oct 31 2012

    More Pfizer Pfun

    The Alt_Mentalities website published a piece, “Lemons into Lemonade: How an off-label marketing fine can be good for business,” tracking Pfizer’s journey through fines for off-label marketing of Neurontin and, later, for Lyrica and other drugs. Punchline question in the piece: “Was taking the hit for off-label marketing in 2004 all part of a plan to boost [...]

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  • Oct 19 2012

    Critics detect hype in “Bra Detects Breast Cancer” news

    At one point, the Boston Globe’s website splashed the breast-cancer-bra news on its home page. In a story devoid of vital details, the feeble attempt to explain anything fell far short. “The bra has been tested for sensitivity and accuracy in three clinical trials involving 650 subjects,” the story gushed.  Only problem:  it didn’t tell [...]

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  • Oct 12 2012

    “What Doctors Don’t Tell You” magazine – reviewed in BMJ and Quackometer

    Dr. Margaret McCartney, who helped launch the site we wrote about yesterday, has a piece in the BMJ this week, “What a new consumer health magazine doesn’t tell you.”  (Subscription required for full access.) Excerpts: “It looks just like any other magazine on the shelves of the newsagent aimed at middle aged women: glossy, [...]

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  • Jul 19 2012

    BMJ/BBC: “Striking lack of evidence” to back up claims for popular sports brands

    A joint news release from the BMJ and the BBC states: (Sorry I can’t do more than post the news release for now.  I’m traveling.) With the biggest sporting event in the world just a week away, a joint investigation by the BMJ and BBC Panorama has found that there is “a striking lack of [...]

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  • Jul 17 2012

    Cocoa as Sunscreen? PR Firm Shamelessly Hypes Tiny Study

    The following is a guest post by Kevin Lomangino, one of our story reviewers on He is an independent medical journalist and editor who is currently Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Nutrition Insight, a monthly evidence-based newsletter which reviews the scientific literature on nutrition for physicians and dietitians. He tweets as @Klomangino. ———————————————– With the summer [...]

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  • Jul 13 2012

    End-of-week roundup: death panels, superbugs, ads for lung transplants & tumor marker screening

    Catch up time: drawing attention to some interesting work published recently: The Poorest of Times: A Shift in “Death Panel” Rhetoric by Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, in the JAMA forum. How Your Chicken Dinner Is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug by Maryn McKenna in The Atlantic. Hospitals Finding Patients on Google, Facebook by Phil Galewitz on [...]

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  • Jul 12 2012

    Marketing and politicizing menopause

    The Associated Press reported this week on the marketing of a new line of menopause products – “a line of products that target 50 million American women who are or will soon go through menopause. Priced between $3.99 and $7.99, the line includes lubricant for vaginal dryness, panty freshener stickers and feminine wash for odor [...]

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  • Jul 5 2012 dismantles drug company news release “fibs”

    Adam Feuerstein of publishes a lesson for journalists and the public about evaluating claims in pharma/biotech news releases.  In “How To Tell When a Drug Company Fibs About Clinical Trial Results,” he writes: Osiris Therapeutics “disappeared” important data when the company announced results Monday from a mid-stage study of its stem cell therapy Prochymal [...]

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