NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

Bad nurses, bad doctors and bad seeds – more 2009 faves

Posted By


Part two of journalist William Heisel’s list of the year’s top health stories. Included was one of my own favorites – Newsweek’s deconstruction of health segments on “Oprah” under the headline:

Live Your Best Life Ever!

Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!

newsweek oprah cover-thumb-240x320-5622.jpg

You might also like


Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.


December 30, 2009 at 9:21 am

Yes, a nice article but wish they’d framed the material about the HPV vaccine differently. They give the impression that objectors to vaccination in general are nutty. While Northrup’s discussion of the HPV vaccine on Oprah doesn’t provide any legitimate reason for not using the HPV vaccine, it is the case that, unlike MMR, there is legitimate scientific debate about the risks/benefit of the HPV vaccine. See for example Haug’s editorial in JAMA on August 19, 2009.
The benefits of the HPV vaccine don’t appear to be that great and are subject to considerable uncertainty. Also if you read the research paper written by research staff at the CDC in the same edition of JAMA they conclude there there is some uncertainty about the risk:
“Most of the [adverse events following immunization] rates were not greater than the background rates compared with other vaccines, but there was disproportional reporting of syncope and venous thromboembolic events. The significance of these findings must be tempered with the limitations (possible underreporting) of a passive reporting system.”
Uncertain benefits and uncertain risk, probably low in both cases, so where’s the convincing case for using the HPV vaccine? Certainty not in questionable marketing: