Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on came to a close at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. But all of the 6,000+ articles we have published contain lessons to help you improve your critical thinking about health care interventions. And those will be still be alive on the site for a couple of years.

The COVID-19 research news rollercoaster is running again: STAT News + Gilead’s remdesivir

This morning, STAT News reported: The story begins:  A government-run study of Gilead’s remdesivir, perhaps the most closely watched experimental drug to treat the novel coronavirus, showed that the medicine is effective against Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Gilead made the announcement in a statement Wednesday, stating: “We understand that the trial has […]


Shining a light on super-spreaders of coronavirus misinformation

NewsGuard calls itself “The Internet Trust Tool.”  And there may have never been a better time to help consumers learn whom to trust than the COVID-19 pandemic era. (You can read more about NewsGuard’s operating model on their site, or in an article one of their staffers published on STAT.) NewsGuard is a browser extension that […]


NY Times “Well” column is unwell again – this time on pandemic running advice

I admire much of the great journalism being delivered by the New York Times on COVID-19 pandemic issues. But I continue to be befuddled many weeks by the decision-making and editorial judgment of the Times’ Well column.  We have written several times about how unwell is the Well feature. Today, one of our former physician-contributors, […]


Slow down your giddyup on Gilead news

This is what STAT reported in what they labeled an “Exclusive” last evening. Early peek at data on Gilead coronavirus drug suggests patients are responding to treatment   Other news organizations played copycat, adding caveats Fox News picked up on the STAT story, but added its own caveats: “Partial data from an ongoing clinical trial […]


‘Love your lungs’? Exaggerated screening claims seem more out of step than ever

A video on the website of Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System makes an emotional pitch for lung cancer screening. We see a woman blowing soap bubbles with a child. A jogger exhaling after a winter run. A multi-generational family cheering at something on TV. An older woman blowing out candles on a birthday cake. “Your lungs […]


Self-promoting MDs hawk unproven COVID-19 pandemic treatments

A friend called last week to tell me about a doctor with a big Facebook following. Her concern? This doctor, Steven Hotze, MD, popular for his Houston-based wellness clinic, his books, and his many media appearances, says that people should not worry about COVID-19 because it’s no worse than the flu. Here’s an excerpt from […]


Strong caveats are lacking as news stories trumpet preliminary COVID-19 research

For years medical researchers held off while scientists in other fields embraced online platforms for posting rough drafts of manuscripts, known as preprints. Those websites accelerate basic science by allowing researchers to disseminate findings and get feedback on their work before submitting them to a traditional journal. Some argue that such rapid data sharing is […]


Federal health agencies block journalists’ access to COVID-19 experts & information

It is a form of censorship.  Journalists trying to cover COVID-19 are not allowed to talk with many federal health researchers or administrators without checking in first with government “public information officers” or PIOs. Sometimes the request is denied outright. Oftentimes, if a reporter is granted an interview, a PIO insists on sitting in on […]


The President and the pandemic: two months of dithering, deceit and distortion

On January 22, 2020, President Donald Trump told the American public: “We have it totally under control.”  No, we didn’t. We don’t. And no one can say how or when we will. I have compiled a roundup of Trump’s distortions, evasions, and lies on the coronavirus outbreak as documented by more than 20 diligent news organizations in news […]


Suffering sciatica! How 2 stories on same study reported with different emphases

This week we were presented with another opportunity to see how the framing of stories about medical studies matters. Are results reported almost unquestioningly, with an emphasis on potential benefits but with few or no caveats or limitations? Or is the potential benefit of the results presented right alongside potential limitations – with caveats and […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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