Health News Review
  • May 14 2010

    Explaining limitations of observational studies – in an online video

    The MDiTV service presents a nice little package explaining the difference between observational studies and experimental trials. I was interviewed by young journalist Amira Dughri for this segment – my first Skype video interview right from my home office! And my friend Andrew Holtz anchors the segment, explaining therein that he is also one of our story reviewers on HealthNewsReview.org. Take a look by visiting this link. This segment…

  • Mar 19 2012

    BMJ news releases, observational studies, overstatement

    …hs of the press release continue in that same conclusive and important sounding vein only to end with this last line, “In an accompanying editorial, Dr Bruce Neal from the University of Sydney suggests that more, bigger studies are needed to substantiate the research hypothesis that white rice increases the chances of getting type 2 diabetes.“ Guess which 7 of 8 press release paragraphs the media paid attention to? Here are a sampling…

  • Oct 25 2011

    Another day, another slew of misleading media messages on observational study

    I know you’re probably tired of reading about it. Frankly, I get a bit weary of writing about it. But as long as journalists continue to use the wrong language to describe observational studies, I’m going to keep plugging away. This recurring flaw was one of three I identified in a popular blog post last week, “How the News Media May Hurt – Not Help – Health Literacy Efforts.” Observational studies canR…

  • Aug 19 2014

    Yay for a BMJ journal news release for including caveats about an observational study!

    area in which a person lives can negatively affect their cardiovascular health. This includes, for example, the density of fast food outlets; levels of violence, noise, and pollution; drug use; and building disrepair. But few studies have looked at the potential health enhancing effects of positive local neighbourhood characteristics, such as perceived neighbourhood social cohesion, say the authors. They therefore tracked the cardiovascular healt…

  • Aug 29 2011

    Unwrapping today’s chocolate story: troublesome BMJ news release

    …Klomangino. ——————————————————————————- Misreporting of Observational Studies: Can Scientific Journals Help? Readers of this blog know that there can be a huge gap between what scientific evidence tells us and what gets reported to the public by the media. And perhaps nowhere does this chasm y…

  • Sep 18 2007

    Another news story about the limitations of some studies

    Yesterday we profiled a Wall Street Journal column about the statistical flaws in some studies. Today we point out a Los Angeles Times column that gives readers a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of epidemiologic studies. Excerpts: “(Critics say that) far too many of these epidemiological studies — in which the habits and other factors of large populations of people are tracked, sometimes for years — are…

  • Jun 11 2014

    BMJ news release on red meat & breast cancer may have misled reporters again

    …journalism that Jon Stewart has mocked on the Daily Show.) The Daily Show Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Daily Show on Facebook In this case, if you don’t understand observational studies, or you don’t understand what “association ≠ causation” means, and you have a major medical journal’s news release using causal language….but you’re still confused or uncertainR…

  • Feb 24 2012

    Observational study miscommunication of the week: citrus & stroke

    ong citrus lovers, some experts say. We offer a primer on our site, “Does The Language Fit The Evidence? – Association Versus Causation.” It goes into great detail explaining how many messages about observational studies are miscommunicated, and what wording can be used to ensure accuracy.     …

  • Feb 23 2012

    Colon cancer screening news coverage all over the map & readers are probably lost

    A couple of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) don’t present as clearcut a picture of colon cancer screening evidence as some stories might suggest. One study pointed to benefits of colonoscopy screening.  Another described potential benefits of a form of blood stool testing called Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT). An editorial in the NEJM attempted to give perspective on both studies. The Los Angeles Times …

  • Jun 13 2011

    Guest post: Are heart device study authors overselling their benefits?

    …oosterish, breathlessly reporting new findings without any context, particularly when it comes to side effects. It’s hard to disagree. But two new reports suggest that some stories may be taking a cue from highly touted studies that fail to note complications. The new reports, by independent researcher John Wilson, MD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, look at how authors of 20 studies of two heart devices present risks – and find them lacking…




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