Health News Review
  • 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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  • 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 Forbes.com. The NEJM itself posted a YouTube video that had journal editor Jeffrey Drazen’s [...]

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  • 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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  • Jul 17 2013

    Of mice and men: problems with animal studies highlighted in a new light

    John Ioannidis of Stanford and colleagues published an important paper in PLoS Biology, “Evaluation of Excess Significance Bias in Animal Studies of Neurological Diseases.” Summary: “Studies have shown that the results of animal biomedical experiments fail to translate into human clinical trials; this could be attributed either to real differences in the underlying biology between [...]

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  • Mar 7 2013

    A journal editor calls for quarantine of “groundbreaking studies about new treatments”

    Dr. Elizabeth Loder, who is a US research editor for the BMJ, blogged “How medical journals can help stop disease-mongering.” in the blog, Loder reflected on her recent participation on a panel I moderated at the Selling Sickness conference in Washington, DC.  Joining Loder on the panel were Jocalyn Clark, PhD, of PLoS Medicine, and [...]

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  • Feb 12 2013

    Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time observational studies are miscommunicated. It just seems that way.

    Health news this week is dripping with warm, gushing claims about the health benefits of chocolate – just in time for Valentine’s Day. Headlines such as: Chocolate – the love drug. Dark Chocolate & Red Wine – The food of love and health Chocolate is good for health and relationships. But one blogger wrote, “I [...]

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