Health News Review
  • Nov 13 2012

    Not so fast on fasting for cholesterol tests

    Lots of news coverage of an interesting study and accompanying commentary in this week’s “online first” edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine – suggesting that fasting may not be necessary before cholesterol tests.  From the banks of the Charles, Harold DeMonaco, MS, one of our expert story reviewers on, weighs in with his [...]

  • Nov 8 2012

    Much botched news coverage of statins and cancer study

    We’re seeing a lot of stories botch the reporting of the Danish study showing a statistical association between statin use and fewer deaths from cancer.  The emphasis we added is deliberate and important.  That’s all it showed. At Reuters Health, Gene Emery got it right.  Excerpts: “Danish cancer patients taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs were 15 [...]

  • Aug 31 2012

    Take 2 aspirin….thoughts on the aspirin/prostate cancer news

    Headlines this week: “Aspirin could be a lifeline for men who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer.” “Daily dose of aspirin can prolong life for those with prostate cancer.” “Aspirin study shows benefit for prostate cancer patients.” Reacting to some of these headlines is this guest post by Richard Hoffman, MD, MPH, one of our [...]

    2 Comments 1 Star
  • Jul 11 2012

    BMJ news release on alcohol & arthritis may have contributed to misleading coverage

    Around the globe today, there are misleading headlines about a study in the BMJ, “Long term alcohol intake and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women: a population based cohort study.” Alcohol cuts arthritis risk by half in women – Times of India Alcohol ‘lowers arthritis risk’ for women – The Independent Alcohol ‘lowers arthritis risk’ [...]

    1 Comment 1 Star
  • Jul 9 2012

    Health News Watchdog barks at stories about dogs and kids’ health

    A paper published in Pediatrics, “Respiratory Tract Illnesses During the First Year of Life: Effect of Dog and Cat Contacts,” is getting lots of news attention, but most of it misses what most such stories usually miss:  You can’t prove cause-and-effect from an observational study.  And there are big limitations to research based on people [...]

    8 Comments 1 Star
  • Jul 2 2012

    As long as news keeps cranking coffee benefit stories, we’ll keep commenting on them

    CAFFEINE LINKED TO LOWER SKIN CANCER RISK – ABC NEWS CAFFEINE IN COFFEE MAY HELP LOWER RISK OF SKIN CANCER – Fox News Addendum on July 4:  Good news, java junkies: Researchers have found the more coffee you drink, the more you may be protecting yourself against skin cancer. – None of these stories [...]

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  • Jun 27 2012

    Coffee clichés and the tired old trend on observational study stories

    My local NBC station (KARE-11) reported the “coffee may protect against heart failure” study 9 minutes deep into its local newscast last evening. It wasn’t a local study.  It wasn’t a local story.  In our community, we had a 5 year old shot and killed while he was sleeping in his home.  We had major [...]

    1 Comment 1 Star
  • May 17 2012

    Another coffee observational study – another round of misplaced emphasis

    Here were some of the headlines or lead lines: Coffee May Be Part of the Recipe for a Longer Life (WebMD) “Coffee drinkers who worry about the jolt of java it takes to get them going in the morning might just as well relax and pour another cup.” (MSNBC) Daily Coffee May Help Keep Grim [...]

    3 Comments 1 Star
  • May 3 2012

    The limitations of – and explosion in the number of – observational studies

    In the Wall Street Journal, Gautam Naik has a thoughtful piece, “Analytical Trend Troubles Scientists,” hitting on the limitations of – and the explosion in the number of – observational studies.  Excerpts: “While the gold standard of medical research is the randomly controlled experimental study, scientists have recently rushed to pursue observational studies, which are [...]

    2 Comments 1 Star
  • Apr 13 2012

    Doc-blogger blasts Medscape’s CME exercises on observational studies

    Obesity medicine doc-blogger Yoni Freedhoff writes, “Why I Can No Longer Trust Medscape.“  In a nutshell, he’s driven nuts by Medscape being “probably the largest online continuing medical education (CME) provider” but using that platform to do the following: “Looking at the 3 most recent observational study failures, where the studies were so poor as [...]

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