Roundup of hot stuff in health care news: misread echos, we're being watched, soccer & intermediate endpoints, Dr. Rob's musings, ghostwriting

John Fauber reports in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “St. Luke’s review finds almost 30% echocardiograms are misread; Better training needed to avoid false diagnoses, researchers say.”

Peggy Peck of touched off quite a discussion with her disclosure that her company was now requiring reporters to requiring reporters to inform readers whenever a press officer has listened in on an interview. This “listening in” policy has irked health/medical/science journalists for decades. The Association of Health Care Journalists blog tracks the entire discussion.

Andrew Holtz, on, has a cute little video feature on studies – and stories – that report on surrogate or intermediate endpoints. If you don’t know what those are, you should watch the video.

If you’ve never read Rob Lamberts’ “Musings of a Distractible Mind” blog (which I somehow beat out for Best Medical Blog this past year), here is a great introduction. As one online commenter wrote, “Just got through my first reading of Musings of a Distractible Mind. ohmygosh, what just happened?”

Finally, three articles in the June issue of Bioethics reflect on different aspects of ghostwriting. One argues that the practice can be treated as an act of research misconduct. Another addresses how “pharmaceutical companies engage in the ghost management of the scientific literature, by controlling or shaping several crucial steps in the research, writing, and publication of scientific articles.” And the third concludes that the practice demonstrates “the manipulation of medical research for marketing purposes.”

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Comments (2)

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Barbara Feder Ostrov

June 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Thanks for highlighting the Bioethics ghostwriting articles, Gary. It’s nice to see that they’re not behind a paywall! Interested journalists should check out William Heisel’s excellent series of posts on pharma ghostwriting over at his Antidote blog at Here’s his latest ghostwriting post; scroll down for a list of related posts.
Barbara Feder Ostrov
Deputy Editor,