Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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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  • Dec 9 2013

    Lehman lances the Lancet

    It’s been a while since I’ve pointed to any of Richard Lehman’s witticisms as he pores through medical journals each week, trying to make sense of what he reads, and trying to help us do so as well. On Twitter today, somebody tweeted today that Lehman’s brain needs to be preserved in a jar so [...]

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  • Nov 22 2013

    Nuts and death – journal animated video explanation

    You probably saw, read, or heard about news of an observational study in the New England Journal of Medicine pointing to a statistical association between nut consumption and lower death rate.  Larry Husten did a good job explaining the study on The NEJM itself posted a YouTube video that had journal editor Jeffrey Drazen’s [...]

  • Oct 4 2013

    More evidence that being published in a journal sometimes doesn’t mean much

    On this site, we constantly admonish against treating journal articles as if they are the stone tablets brought down from Mount Horeb. And now science journalist John Bohannon drives that point home with an elaborate spoof. He sent out a research paper he dreamed up and got at least 157 journals to accept it. It’s [...]

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  • Sep 9 2013

    Peer review helps slow down spin on how studies are reported

    In his new home at MedPage Today, Ivan Oransky writes, “Peer Review Cuts Down Clinical Trial Spin.” Excerpts: “Peer review, while hardly perfect, does improve the reporting of randomized trials, according to a preliminary study presented … at the Peer Review Congress. Authors of about a third of the analyzed reports changed their conclusions in [...]

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  • Jul 17 2013

    British journal blogs fire cross-Atlantic salvoes at JAMA, NEJM

    Two weeks ago, former BMJ editor Richard Smith blogged, “Is the New England Journal of Medicine anti-science?” Excerpts: “I don’t know why the New England Journal of Medicine doesn’t publish electronically all the letters it receives, but I can hypothesise. The Bostonian paragon is unashamedly elitist and committed to excellence and virtue, just like their [...]

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