October 19, 2017 | Story Review

Readers will be swept in by Newsweek’s story on pending muscular dystrophy drug, but what does the evidence show?

Given the vividness of anecdotal accounts, the research details in a story like this must be a dominant and detailed part of the story.

4 Star


October 19, 2017 | News Release Review

With a growing number of trials exploring intermittent fasting in people it’s not clear what this mice study brings to the table

How many mice and how much did they lose compared to controls? These key questions aren’t addressed. Not is there a caution that mice studies are rarely replicated in human trials.

2 Star

On-and-off fasting helps fight obesity

October 17, 2017 | News Release Review

Announcement on phase 1 leprosy vaccine trial suffers from hyperbole, lack of evidence

The release claims the work is the “most exciting breakthrough in leprosy treatment” but it’s an announcement of a phase 1 study that hasn’t even been conducted yet.

3 Star

Promising New Leprosy Vaccine Moves Into Human Trials

October 17, 2017 | Story Review

WSJ wisely reports on Ebola vaccines: ‘It is unknown…what antibody levels are needed to protect patients’

That said, we think the story would have been stronger had it been more clear on the industry connections behind the study, and if it had discussed availability of the vaccine–especially if a new outbreak occurs.

4 Star

Ebola Vaccines Show Promise in New Study

October 16, 2017 | News Release Review

UCSF offers cautious recap but equates surrogate markers with clinical outcomes in MS drug study

Changes in measurement of surrogate markers for a disease are not the same as clinical improvements in patients.

3 Star

Allergy drug improves function in patients with chronic injury from multiple sclerosis

October 16, 2017 | Story Review 1

HealthDay rehashes news release in uncritical look at breast cancer screening

Based on research, to what degree do these various screening methods save lives? The story doesn’t say.

2 Star

Breast Cancer Screenings Still Best for Early Detection

October 12, 2017 | News Release Review

Journal gives balanced look at comparative harms from analgesics given to children after surgery

Some numerical context on the increased side effects of oral morphine would have made the release much stronger.

3 Star

Ibuprofen better choice over oral morphine for pain relief in children after minor surgery

October 11, 2017 | News Release Review

Some data would have given weight to BMJ’s recap of multivitamins and autism study

We liked the cautious tone of this news release but looked in vain for any numbers from the study.

3 Star

Multivitamins in pregnancy may be linked to lower autism risk in children


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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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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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