Health News Review
  • Nov 19 2014

    Evaluating evidence in media messages about breast cancer

    The National Breast Cancer Coalition asked me to deliver a presentation at its Project LEAD® workshop in Washington, DC, on November 16. Project LEAD® is designed for NBCC members who want “an introductory education in the science of breast cancer, research design, advocacy and understanding medical news in the media.” My slides appear below.   [...]

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  • Sep 15 2014

    “Catastrophizing parlance” about diabetes

    Earlier today, I published a critique of a news story that was imbalanced in its reporting about pre-diabetes.  The story referred to a “national health crisis.” In his weekly BMJ blog reviewing journals, Dr. Richard Lehman addressed other hyperbolic language used to describe Type 2 diabetes.  He wrote:  In the catastrophizing parlance of the Lancet, [...]

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  • Aug 22 2014

    Predatory journal: “good way to make an income & defraud scientific community”

    Applause for Tom Spears of The Ottawa Citizen for his piece, “Respected medical journal turns to dark side.” He begins: “A respected Canadian medical journal that was sold to offshore owners last year is now printing scientific junk for hire, but still trading on its original good name. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was published in Oakville, Ont., [...]

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  • Aug 19 2014

    Yay for a BMJ journal news release for including caveats about an observational study!

    I’ve criticized them many times, so now it’s time to salute them. And let’s hope the news release writers for BMJ journals continue this practice. This week, in a news release about a paper in one of the journals published by the BMJ, the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was this caveat: “This is [...]

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  • Jul 29 2014

    6th time I’ve called out BMJ news releases on observational studies

    I do not enjoy this – repeatedly calling out The BMJ for its misleading news releases on observational studies. But I’m going to keep doing it until I see a change. The last time I did this, just two months ago, change was promised by The BMJ editor Trish Groves. But here we go again. [...]

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  • Jun 11 2014

    BMJ news release on red meat & breast cancer may have misled reporters again

    I shuddered as soon as I read the BMJ news release headline, which read: “Estimated risk of breast cancer increases as red meat intake increases.“  I shuddered because I predicted to myself that many headlines, if not complete news stories, would report this as proof of cause and effect.  Or, at the very least, caveats [...]

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  • Mar 6 2014

    Improving news releases by medical journals and academic medical centers

    The journal Evidence-Based Medicine recently published an editorial, “Journals should lead the way in improving medical press releases,” by Dr. Joshua Fenton of the University of California, Davis. As one who has written frequently about flaws in journal news releases,* I am pleased to hear another voice call for change. Excerpts of his editorial: While [...]

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  • Feb 4 2014

    My weekly fix from Richard Lehman’s journal review blog

    Jut a few gems from the February 3 edition: “Oh great. Another phase 2 study of a pricey monoclonal antibody to address the “epidemic of osteoporosis,” i.e. a pharma-driven epidemic of overdiagnosis in older women. With a nice surrogate end point: bone mineral density, which bears an oblique relationship to fracture risk. And, in a [...]

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  • Jan 22 2014

    Misleading BMJ news releases may be one reason journalists report on more observational studies

    Just a few days ago, a paper in the journal PLoS One, “Media Coverage of Medical Journals: Do the Best Articles Make the News?” showed how journalists are more likely to report on observational studies than on randomized clinical trials.  The authors suggest this shows a systematic bias to report on weaker evidence. And here’s [...]

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  • Dec 10 2013

    Last week “clinical trial system broken”; this week “luxury journals distort/damage science”

    In the BMJ recently: “The clinical trial system is broken and it’s getting worse, according to longstanding Food and Drug Administration investigator, Thomas Marciniak. … “Drug companies have turned into marketing machines. They’ve kind of lost sight of the fact that they’re actually doing something which involves your health,” Marciniak says. “You’ve got to take [...]

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