Health News Review
  • Jan 8 2013

    New Eye Test May Help Predict Risk of Glaucoma

    The story promises information about a “new eye test” and “a new way of identifying people at risk of glaucoma years before vision loss happens.” But the test is never adequately described.  And the supposed benefits are not explained in a meaningful way.


    No Comments 3 Star
  • Jan 4 2013

    Drug Fulfills Promise Of Research Into Cystic Fibrosis Gene

    The star score doesn’t reflect the strong points about this piece. The story was told with an engaging and interesting style, and provided historical reflections on the science and on past journalism on the topic.  Still, we wish it had provided more evidence and more outside perspective.

    3 Comments 3 Star
  • Jan 3 2013

    Energy Drinks Promise Edge, but Experts Say Proof Is Scant

    We found no glaring problems with the reporting of this valid story, so it gets a top 5-star score.  But we question whether the subject matter warranted front-page attention in a 2,000-word article. (An earlier comment about a BMJ/BBC report has been deleted.  We erroneously connected that report with the subject of this story.  They concerned different product types.)

    No Comments 5 Star
  • Dec 18 2012

    New test could help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in live patients

    This is one of the finest, most complete health care news stories we’ve reviewed in a long time.  The fact that its topic was a sensitive, confusing, controversial one adds to our appreciation of the journalism.

    1 Comment 5 Star
  • Dec 18 2012

    Treating Kidneys With Radio Waves May Ease Tough-to-Control Hypertension

    While the story gets a relatively high grade, it got unsatisfactory scores on 3 of our most important criteria:  costs, harms, and evidence.

    Is there a journalistic love affair with invasive interventions for resistant high blood pressure?

    1 Comment 3 Star
  • Dec 18 2012

    Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

    This WebMD story never reported the main finding of the study, which is that beet juice had no effect on blood pressure in the study overall. The headline, “Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure,” is not supported by the published research paper.  The story only gets a  3-star score because of satisfactory grades on the easy criteria; it flunked all of the more vital criteria.  Don’t judge a story by its star score.  Read the entire review.

    1 Comment 3 Star
  • Dec 13 2012

    New method allows better prostate cancer testing

    This story promises that “better prostate cancer testing” may be right around the corner, even as the researchers and editorial writers warn of limitations and “significant hurdles.”

    No Comments 1 Star
  • Dec 12 2012

    In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia

    This New York Times piece about an experimental leukemia treatment captures the excitement of this gene therapy research with a gripping account of one patient’s story. But we don’t think it delivers enough of the cautionary notes that we feel are mandatory with this kind of reporting. The competing Philadelphia Inquirer story was more restrained but missed some important details that the Times delivered.

    1 Comment 4 Star
  • Dec 12 2012

    University of Pennsylvania gene therapy shows promise in eradicating some blood cancers

    Less sensational than the competing New York Times piece, this riveting read would have been better with a few minor improvements.

    No Comments 3 Star
  • Dec 12 2012

    Drug Shows Promise for Lupus Skin Conditions

    This story about research on an experimental approach for lupus skin conditions raises more questions than answers regarding effectiveness.

    No Comments 3 Star