In this week’s American Medical News, reporter Kevin B. O’Reilly profiles the work of HealthNewsReview.org, including some perspectives from some physician-admirers of the project. Excerpts:
HealthNewsReview.org performs a valuable function, said Anthony G. Alessi, MD, a Norwich, Conn., neurologist and sports medicine specialist.
“There is a huge need for independent review, especially where the media’s concerned,” said Dr. Alessi, who hosts a weekly call-in radio show, “Healthy Rounds,” on Hartford, Conn., radio station WTIC. “There are lots of things we debunk that are based on inadequate testing and marginal results that they are really touting to be a lot better. The media needs to review these darn things and not let these people do this infomercial thing.”
Misinformed medical journalism cannot only lead to fruitless discussions in the exam room, but can alarm patients unnecessarily. Several years ago, a patient of Minneapolis family physician Jon S. Hallberg, MD, became highly anxious because of an article he read in a men’s magazine that described the conditions that could be uncovered by a full-body computed tomography scan.
“He was shaking like a leaf when he went to see me,” said Dr. Hallberg, who contributes regularly as a medical expert on Minnesota Public Radio. “I had to talk him down. His health for a few weeks was worse just from reading a magazine article.”