Health News Review
  • Sep 12 2013

    Let me count the ways I’m troubled by this NBC “cookies & cancer” story

    The story came to my attention when I saw Twitter comments such as “How not to communicate about cancer risk factors.  Oy.” That was in reference to an NBC Today Health website piece entitled, “Drop the cookie:  Sweet, starchy foods ‘probably’ cause women’s cancer.“  It was based on the report, whose cover page appears at [...]

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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 [...]

  • Aug 20 2013

    Scary coffee stories – add cream and two lumps of caveats

     Put Down That Coffee.  It Might Be Killing You. That was an actual headline from a story the other day about a paper published online first by Mayo Clinic Proceedings pointing to an association – not proof of cause – between heavy coffee consumption (>28 cups a week) and higher death rate in people younger [...]

  • Apr 10 2013

    Familiar pattern in stories of male pattern baldness & heart disease

    A paper published in BMJ Open, “Male pattern baldness and its association with coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis,” drew lots of news coverage. When I began to scan some of the news, I scratched my head, pulled out some hair, tousled what was left, and finally decided I had to address some of what I [...]

  • Feb 6 2013

    Five year survival rates can mislead – message to medical educators, medical journals, journalists and the public

    Professor Gerd Gigerenzer of the Max Planck Institute in Berlin published an article in the BMJ last week, “Five year survival rates can mislead.” Excerpt: While running for president of the United States the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani announced in a 2007 campaign advertisement, “I had prostate cancer, 5, 6 years ago. My [...]

  • Dec 17 2012

    Pediatricians’ statement on thimerosal in vaccines

    Guest blogger Harold DeMonaco submitted this column: “They are DANGEROUS when they get together and do a little thinking!” That’s a quote from an anonymous posting in response to a MedPage Today story on today’s American Academy of Pediatrics endorsement of a Recommendation of WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization to allow [...]

  • Jul 10 2012

    Epidemiologists call them “absolute risks”; you and I might call them the real numbers

    In a recent Huffington Post blog post, Dartmouth’s Gil Welch addressed an old, pet theme of ours, “The Problem is Relative.”  Excerpt: Numerous studies have shown that the general public has exaggerated perceptions of the health risks they face — as well as exaggerated expectations of the benefit of medical care. Is it because they’re [...]

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  • 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 [...]

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  • Jan 6 2012

    “Stop inappropriate, expensive & perhaps even unethical radical therapies for a condition that by itself does not kill”

    That’s an excerpt from a recent commentary in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) by authors from urology departments in Canada and the UK asking, “Should we really consider Gleason 6 prostate cancer?” (subscription required for full access). The National Cancer Institute defines the Gleason score as: A system of grading prostate cancer tissue [...]

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  • Jan 5 2012

    CDC fixes holiday pitch after getting aspirin advice wrong

    The following is a guest post submitted by Frederik Joelving, reporter and editor at Reuters Health. You can follow him on Twitter at @joelving. ———————————————————————————————————————————– A couple of weeks ago, I received an email reminding me just how easy it is to stray from good evidence in the name of disease awareness. And this time [...]

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