April 19, 2018 | Story Review

Can ‘thinking differently’ help sooth chronic back pain? Hard to tell from HealthDay’s fuzzy reporting

The story doesn’t really explain the differences between the standard and experimental therapies in the small trial.

3 Star

Overcoming Fear of Back Pain May Spur Recovery

April 18, 2018 | News Release Review 2

University touts new device to protect women from HIV; buries fact it was only tested in rabbits

The headline and text repeatedly imply the approach could “prevent women from getting HIV infection,” but saves the fact that the study is in rabbits for the very end.

2 Star

University of Waterloo develops new way to fight HIV transmission

April 17, 2018 | Story Review

Immunotherapy prolongs survival, but at what cost? Washington Post needed more on treatment downsides

Most significantly, it doesn’t tell us about the $150,000 annual price tag for each patient.

3 Star

For advanced lung cancer, immune therapy plus chemo prolongs survival

April 17, 2018 | Story Review

Without any independent sources providing insight, readers of TIME’s coverage on lung cancer immunotherapy mostly left in the dark

When the stakes are this high, it’s critical that news stories give a clear picture of the proven benefits, limitations of the evidence, potential side effects, and costs.

2 Star

New Studies Show Immune Treatments Could Be Key in the Fight Against Lung Cancer

April 16, 2018 | News Release Review

Not a lick of evidence is given to back claim that panic attack therapy is highly successful

The release also claims that the device reduces costs by 50% and PTSD by 90% — again without providing any evidence or study references.

1 Star

Multiple Studies Show Freespira® Eliminates Panic Attacks in 80% of Patients

April 13, 2018 | News Release Review

Kudos for several cautions, but college announcement sidesteps other key details on new class of cancer drug

An important financial conflict of interest and any discussion of potential harms were left out of the release.

2 Star

New class of drugs could help tackle treatment-resistant cancers

April 11, 2018 | Story Review

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s using biomarkers–AP makes it clear that there is no benefit to patients

Still, we would have liked to see comment from an independent source on how this news might be misconstrued, especially by readers worried about their own risk for developing the disease.

4 Star

New way of defining Alzheimer's aims to find disease sooner

April 11, 2018 | News Release Review

Let’s be clear: claim that new cancer combo ‘improves survival’ misleads

As new drug combos come on line for difficult to treat cancers like uterine serous carcinoma (USC), researchers claim success in terms of months, not years. Increasingly, months of progression-free survival — not overall survival — is reported as the clinical trial endpoint. But taking into account harms and costs, is that cause for celebration?

2 Star

New drug combo improves survival of women with rare uterine cancer

Toolkit

Tips for Understanding Studies

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Toolkit

Story Reviews

Our team of reviewers applies 10 standardized criteria to news stories that include claims about health care interventions. ~2,000 reviews published.

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News Release Reviews

We systematically evaluate the quality of health care-related news releases by journals, medical centers, drug/device makers, others.

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Blog

Wide-ranging exploration of issues in journalism, journal publishing, health care PR, advertising and marketing. Some opinions - publisher Gary Schwitzer's & others'.

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