Health News Review
  • Mar 4 2015

    BMJ back on bad track with its news releases: now gout & Alzheimer’s

    Biostatistician Dr. Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center wrote to me recently, “My assessment of the landscape of observational studies, including much of epidemiology, ranges from bleak to parched earth.” That should get your attention about why we – all of us who communicate about research findings – need to do a better job [...]

    No Comments
  • Mar 3 2015

    A tale of two observational studies – peanuts, coffee, heart health – and how the journals & some journalists handled them differently

    I saw this coming as soon as I saw the BMJ news release about a study published in one of its journals, Heart. The BMJ, which seemed to have turned a corner recently, starting to include at least boilerplate news release language about the limitations of observational studies, dropped the ball on a new one. [...]

    6 Comments
  • Feb 13 2015

    Who funded the research? It’s always an important question.

    The following is a guest blog post from one of our contributors, veteran health care journalist Trudy Lieberman. Trudy keeps an eye out for the way in which health care topics are promoted to the public, often with a special focus on how health care policy might be influenced by news and health care communication. ———————— [...]

    1 Comment
  • Dec 16 2014

    Edgar Allen Poe, Vincent Price, and Dr. Richard Lehman’s journal review blog

    Week after week, it’s a gem. This week, Dr. Richard Lehman’s journal roundup on his blog for The BMJ starts with a parody of Edgar Allen Poe, goes on to channel Vincent Price, and then it gets darker. He describes a New England Journal of Medicine paper on “Clonal Hematopoiesis and Blood-Cancer Risk Inferred from [...]

    No Comments
  • Dec 9 2014

    Exaggeration in health science news releases – and what we’re going to do about it

    It’s difficult to imagine a journal article and an editorial that could set the stage for what we intend to do on this site in 2015 better than this paper and this editorial in The BMJ this week – about problems with health related science news releases. (It is ironic that I have criticized news [...]

    1 Comment
  • 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.   [...]

    No Comments
  • 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, [...]

    No Comments
  • 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., [...]

    No Comments
  • 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 [...]

    No Comments
  • 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. [...]

    3 Comments