Health News Review
  • Aug 8 2014

    Weekending confusion: Playing the “Price is Right” with MRI….and CNN flunks geography

    The terrific Clear Health Costs project reports early results from their new California crowdsourcing project on MRI prices. How’s this for a narrow price range: $255 <———> $2,925. If that has you confused, how about these maps from CNN:   If Nigeria and Hong Kong don’t appear as above on your maps, the problem is [...]

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  • Jul 13 2014

    Journalists jump at chance to say “fart” in a story; botch what study & news release said

    This is like the old game of telephone. Communicate a message from person to person to person and watch how the original message disintegrates. The message in question started as a basic research paper in the journal Medicinal Chemistry Communications – entitled: The synthesis and functional evaluation of a mitochondria-targeted hydrogen sulfide donor, (10-oxo-10-(4-(3-thioxo-3H-1,2-dithiol-5-yl)phenoxy)decyl)triphenylphosphonium bromide [...]

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  • Jun 23 2014

    Oz, Oliver, and Outrage About Nutritional Supplements

    On his “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” program on HBO, the host tore into Dr. Oz, his Senate testimony last week, and the regulation (or lack thereof) of nutritional supplements.  The segment discusses Senators Harken and Hatch and their roles in the latter.  It includes classic Oz clips, like talking with Cameron Diaz about [...]

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  • 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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