Health News Review
  • Jan 21 2013

    Observational Studies and Falsification Endpoints

    Last week’s Journal of the American Medical Association included an article, “Prespecified Falsification End Points: Can They Validate True Observational Associations?” that got guest blogger Harold DeMonaco, MS, thinking in a way that might get you thinking.  Here is his guest post: ————————————————- That JAMA article by Prasad and Jena offers a rather unique solution [...]

  • Dec 18 2012

    Please, Grey Lady, don’t spill more coffee observational studies on us

    The New York Times – in its print edition today and on its Well blog – reported, “Risks:  Coffee Linked to Fewer Oral Cancer Deaths.” That is technically accurate.  An observational study like this – actually a questionnaire-based survey of a large number of people – can point to a statistical association – a “link” [...]

  • Dec 7 2012

    My talk to Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT’s Medical Evidence Bootcamp for Journalists

    For what I believe was the fourth time in the past five years, Phil Hilts of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT asked me to speak to their Medical Evidence Boot Camp.  It happened this week in Cambridge. I was honored and delighted to be on the same program with Drs. Steven Woloshin and [...]

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  • Dec 3 2012

    Cardiobrief: Exercise And The Limitations Of Observational Studies

    Cardiobrief blogger Larry Husten writes: “Last week I wrote twice about exercise. Strictly speaking, both stories were complete lies.” Well, Larry is speaking strictly there.  But his heart is in the right place. Go to Cardiobrief and read the entire post, but just to capture it here, the following is what Husten thought about the first [...]

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  • Nov 27 2012

    Heart journals ask scientist-authors to do what we’ve been teaching journalists for years

    For years we have been coaxing and educating journalists – and the general public – to understand that the language used to describe studies – especially observational studies – is important. We have published a primer, “Does the Language Fit the Evidence?  Association Versus Causation.” Well don’t feel picked on any longer, journalists.  Some journals [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • 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’ [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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