Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

  • Aug 8 2014

    Weekending confusion: Playing the “Price is Right” with MRI….and CNN flunks geography

    The terrific Clear Health Costs project reports early results from their new California crowdsourcing project on MRI prices. How’s this for a narrow price range: $255 <———> $2,925. If that has you confused, how about these maps from CNN:   If Nigeria and Hong Kong don’t appear as above on your maps, the problem is [...]

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  • Jun 25 2014

    Which journalists reported an extra dimension on the 3-D mammography story?

    Faithful to the latest journal article, many news organizations dutifully reported what they were told by authors of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Breast Cancer Screening Using Tomosynthesis in Combination with Digital Mammography.“  The list of stories that resorted to sensational language – breakthrough, game-changer, best way of detection, [...]

  • Feb 22 2014

    Nonivasive heart imaging tests lead to invasive tests but not to better outcomes

    I found a Medscape story about the following.  Nothing else.  Granted, I can’t see/find everything, so I may have missed some reporting on this.  But nothing jumped out at me in a web search.  Why not? A paper in JAMA Internal Medicine, “Hospital Variation in the Use of Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging and Its Association With [...]

  • Oct 4 2013

    Imbalance in reporting on Alzheimer’s PET scan research

    Just two weeks ago, CBS reported on PET scans for Alzheimer’s disease, “New scan may diagnose Alzheimer’s as brain changes occur,” based on a study in the journal Neuron.  (Do they scour this journal all the time?) Just four days ago, the Washington Post reported on “good news on Alzheimer’s: Better ways to diagnose it.“  [...]

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  • Feb 3 2013

    A few health care news gems from the past week that you may have missed

    The New Yorker profile of Dr. Oz, “The Operator: Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good?” The NPR piece, “Hanging A Price Tag On Radiology Tests Didn’t Change Doctors’ Habits.”’s new Drug Ads teaching tool.  It’s a three-part slideshow covering misleading advertising in  medical journals, indirect marketing, and disease-mongering; [...]

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  • Dec 6 2012

    Incomplete MPR reporting on Mayo prostate cancer scan

    I’m a big fan of Minnesota Public Radio and usually a big fan of their health care news coverage. They’ve done some bold and innovative coverage in recent years. But when I heard (on the radio) and saw (online) MPR’s story, “Prostate cancer scan advance helps Mayo doctors with early detection,” I saw some red [...]

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  • Oct 25 2012

    ABC corrects earlier story about Bill Weir’s “lifesaving” CT scan

    Call it a retraction.  Call it a correction.  Call it important to correct the record. Back in January, I led the charge in criticizing ABC’s Bill Weir for his report on Dr. David Agus’ book, “The End of Illness,” and Weir’s claim that a CT scan Agus recommended may have saved Weir’s life.  You can [...]

  • Oct 9 2012

    The evolution of a story: hospital “selling scans” makes it into final headline

    I had never met Jim Walsh of the Star Tribune, but he called me recently about a story he was working on.  I’m glad he did, because I think our conversation (and subsequent conversations with people to whom I referred him) may have altered the direction of the final product. I hadn’t realized that Walsh [...]

  • Jun 13 2012

    Scanning the news about concerns over explosion in medical imaging scans

    In case you missed them, many stories reported on a new analysis of the explosion in the use of CT, MRI and other advanced imaging methods. The Los Angeles Times: “Use of imaging tests soars, raising questions on radiation risk.” Researchers looked at “data from patients enrolled in six large health maintenance organizations,” and “found [...]

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