Health News Review
  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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, 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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  • Mar 11 2013

    PREVAIL trial’s tangled mess of news release, broken embargo, confusion over heart device data

    This is an updated version (on March 17) of the post that first appeared on March 11 – with new information. While the big American College of Cardiology conference was going on more than a week ago, you may have missed how a tangled mess in the way health care news is disseminated was on [...]

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  • Mar 7 2013

    American College of Cardiology news release plugs, expresses “serious concerns” about study to be discussed at upcoming meeting

    The American College of Cardiology holds its annual scientific sessions in San Francisco from March 9 – 13 this year.  It is quite common for organizations like the ACC to send out news releases in advance of a meeting about papers that will be presented at the meeting. But it is uncommon for an organization [...]

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  • Feb 7 2013

    How the same “independent” sources pop up in competing stories – or, is this the scientific embargo version of insider trading?

    Just a few weeks ago, analyzed several stories on a study of berries and women’s heart health. In our review of a HealthDay story, we noted: The story quotes two independent experts, preventive cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum and nutritionist Dana Greene. We wish that the experts were quoted on a more analytical view of [...]

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  • Dec 26 2012

    3rd annual year-ender on health care PR crap we receive

    I’ve been too nice the past two years, calling my year-enders “PR puffery” or “PR stuff.” The stuff I’m writing about here is pure crap.  So we’re calling it that. This annual series is about the bombardment of news releases sent to journalists who are trying to decide what is vital information for readers, viewers [...]

  • Dec 12 2012

    Grateful for American College of Sports Medicine’s continued support

    As the latest manifestation of the ACSM’s support for what we do, see one of their recent news releases which includes at the end this tag: The American College of Sports Medicine supports the 10 Criteria for Responsible Health Reporting as articulated by Health News Review. Beggars can’t be choosers, my Dad always reminded me.  [...]

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