Health News Review
  • 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. – CNN.com 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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  • Mar 27 2012

    Weighty Matters blogger dismantles chocolate news release & study

    Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, self-described as founder of “a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre,” is also an active blogger. (An editor of the BMJ reacted on my blog to Freedhoff’s piece from last week about a white rice & diabetes study.  See the exchange of comments at the end of the piece.) His [...]

    1 Comment 1 Star
  • Mar 19 2012

    BMJ news releases, observational studies, overstatement

    Canadian physician-blogger Yoni Freedhoff writes, “What Reading That White Rice and Diabetes Study Actually Told Me.” He analyzes methodological issues, questions the BMJ publishing the study, then adds: But that’s not the truly shocking part. This is. The BMJ published an accompanying editorial that rightly called the paper out on its methodological and statistical inadequacies and [...]

    9 Comments 1 Star
  • Mar 13 2012

    Red meat study/stories deserve a closer look, too

    Physician-blogger Marya Zilberberg, a professor of epidemiology at U-Mass, Amherst, writes,”Unpacking the meat data.” She says a study from Harvard – and news coverage of it – about how red meat is bad for you “deserves some unpacking.” Excerpt: The investigators examined two large observational cohort studies totaling over 100,000 subjects and tried to estimate [...]

    6 Comments 1 Star
  • Mar 2 2012

    Please read our primer on observational studies

    If you follow health care news in mainstream media, you’re going to be flooded with news from observational studies – research that is not a true experiment but, rather, what is seen by observing people doing different things over time. It’s valid and important research but one thing we can’t lose sight of:  such research [...]

    7 Comments 1 Star