Health News Review
  • Jan 10 2014

    Mr. Balls, Senhor Testiculo, and a man named Cox

    In all the years I’ve written about promotions for various screening tests, I’ve seen some oddities. A porn star and the “Boob Bus Nurse Brigade” promoting mammography A fun-filled giant walk-through colon to promote colorectal cancer screening But those might pale in comparison with the various hairy testicle creatures roaming various regions of the earth. [...]

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  • Dec 19 2013

    More BMJ Christmas specials: virgin births & strange nativities

    The BMJ published a paper based on a survey “to estimate the incidence of self report of pregnancy without sexual intercourse (virgin pregnancy) and factors related to such reporting, in a population representative group of US adolescents and young adults.” Results: Of 7870 eligible women, 5340 reported a pregnancy, of whom 45 (0.8% of pregnant [...]

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  • Dec 5 2013

    Over-reacting to French president’s BPH: a pissing match over a benign condition?

    The Telegraph reports: “President François Hollande of France admitted on Wednesday that he had surgery in 2011 on a swollen prostate just before he ran for office, igniting fresh debate over how honest French leaders are about their health problems.” Really? In my mind, what has been re-ignited is miscommunication about prostate health issues. I [...]

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  • Sep 10 2013

    This is nuts: news coverage stating that great Dads have smaller testicles

    This is the kind of news coverage about a study that results in science and journalism about science losing credibility.  To get warmed up, check some of the headlines: Great dads have smaller testicles, study suggests – CBC Study: Choose Dads With Smaller ‘Nads – TIME Study:  You may be a terrible dad because you [...]

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  • Jul 18 2013

    Enjoying some coffee enema hype with your morning Chicago Tribune website visit

    Normally, I wouldn’t consider as “news” something that is clearly a “Dear Pharmacist” column.  However, the Chicago Tribune website labels this as one of its “Top Stories” so if they want to call it news, we’re going to fire away, ridiculous as that labeling may be. The screenshot below shows how the story appears on [...]

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  • Jul 12 2013

    Transcranial brain stimulation for everybody? I’ll choose the safe Luddite route.

    Journalist Tabitha Powledge, on the National Association of Science Writers “On science blogs” blog, writes: Steven Novella has an alarmed and alarming post at Science-Based Medicine about Foc.us, a device for providing transcranial direct current stimulation to the brain. For gamers. (“Overclock your brain!” “Make your synapses fire faster. Faster Processor, Faster Graphics, Faster Brain!”) [...]

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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 23 2013

    Dr. Stephen Colbert on sunblock, “the silent killer”

    Important news leading into a holiday weekend. Stephen Colbert was back this week with another segment of “Cheating Death” on his Comedy Central program.  He went off on news coverage of a study suggesting that sunlight exposure may help lower blood pressure.  Colbert’s reaction:  “That’s why I call sunblock the silent killer.” Follow us on [...]

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  • May 10 2013

    BMJ blogger: new cars for orthopedic surgeons and petomania still not an Olympic sport

    BMJ blogger Richard Lehman’s weekly review of medical journals is worth a weekly visit. This week he comments on a New England Journal of Medicine article, “Surgery versus Physical Therapy for a Meniscal Tear and Osteoarthritis.” He writes: “To my mind, the words “meniscal tear” conjure up Monday morning at the surgery, with young men [...]

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  • Apr 30 2013

    The allure of “Michelle Obama Arms” – Lifting the hype bar on upper arm lift surgery

    Fact:  the US spends a far greater percentage of the Gross Domestic Product on health care than any other country on earth. Suggestion:  trends like the following, and news stories about these trends, may be a big reason why. Caution: You need to sit through a 15-second commercial before seeing the news video, which, itself [...]

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