Health News Review
  • Jun 10 2014

    Slow down on making claims for semen test for prostate cancer

    Recently, all sorts of sensational headlines popped up about: Semen test may improve prostate cancer detection Semen test for prostate cancer helps diagnose early warning signs Prostate cancer accurately identified with semen test Prostate cancer diagnosis may be more accurate with semen test Semen test is latest diagnostic prostate cancer tool and may be best [...]

    2 Comments
  • 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 6 2014

    Journalism via news release as Pfizer gets free publicity without releasing any data

    This week, Pfizer announced news from a trial of a drug for advanced breast cancer. The Pfizer news release stated “that the randomized Phase 2 trial [PALOMA-1] of palbociclib achieved its primary endpoint by demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for the combination of palbociclib and letrozole compared with [...]

    5 Comments
  • 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 [...]

    17 Comments
  • Oct 16 2013

    Journalists addicted to “Oreos as addictive as cocaine” news release

    Vapid news filling the news void.  And when you read the stories, they are strikingly, mindlessly identical.  40 and counting on a web search by 8 a.m. Central time today. “Do you sometimes feel like you’re addicted to Oreos? Well, that might not be as crazy as it seems,” reports a St. Louis TV station. [...]

    2 Comments
  • Oct 4 2013

    The crime of overstating a drug’s benefits in a news release

    David Brown wrote an interesting piece in the Washington Post two weeks ago, “The press-release conviction of a biotech CEO and its impact on scientific research.” Excerpt: “The press release described a clinical trial of interferon gamma-1b (sold as Actimmune) in 330 patients with a rapidly fatal lung disease. What’s unusual is that everyone agrees [...]

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  • Sep 6 2013

    A patient’s perspective on an NIH/NCI news release – a punch in the gut

    The following thoughts were sent to me by Carol Countryman, who had chemotherapy and radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s disease in the early ’70s.  She’s had two mastectomies and last year was diagnosed with delayed-onset myopathy from the radiation – a new disease and very rare.  She says her quality of life “is already a bit [...]

    2 Comments
  • May 30 2013

    To a man with a new hammer….marketing claims of robotic “firsts” piling up

    Health care marketing of robotic surgery systems knows no bounds.  At the end of this piece, you can see a list of past posts on this marketing trend. Besides the explosive use in prostate surgery, we’ve seen promotions of robotic “firsts” for: first robotic cholecystectomy first TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) to treat sleep apnea first [...]

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  • May 27 2013

    Mice confused by Alzheimer’s research – our 3rd “whom to believe?” example this month

    For the third time this month, we have a classic confrontation of competing, conflicting story framing from journalists on a medical research topic. (See our earlier post about the previous two examples.)  This time, it was a question of breakthrough or flop…reject dramatic findings or verify them…sometimes presented both ways in different articles posted by [...]

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  • May 17 2013

    Here we go again: early news on early abstract release from ASCO

    The following is a guest post by Harold DeMonaco, MS, one of our expert reviewers on HealthNewsReview.org, and a frequent guest blogger on this site. ———————- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will hold its annual meeting starting on May 31st in Chicago, Illinois.  While we have consistently cautioned against over reading the abstracts [...]

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