7 6/28/2018

With funding scarce, HealthNewsReview.org hurtles toward closure

The following post is written by Michael Schulson and was originally published on Undark. We are reposting it with permission because we think it does an excellent job of summarizing what HealthNewsReview.org does, what many health care journalists thought about our work, and why our work will be missed when we close at the end […]

2 6/27/2018

News stories parrot assumptions about ‘body positivity’ health risks — and ignore conflicting evidence

A study published in the journal Obesity made headlines this week for suggesting that body positivity — a social movement encouraging acceptance of all body types — is putting people at risk of poor health outcomes. It’s the kind of counter-intuitive claim that is likely to generate clicks. Could a movement meant to lift people up be […]

2 6/26/2018

Feeling the drip, drip, drip of credulous first-person reporting about unproven interventions

Houston Chronicle reporter Craig Hlavaty recently treated readers to a first-person account of getting an intravenous (IV) vitamin infusion inside a van parked outside his house. The article, “Feeling the drip, drip, drip of the mobile IV craze,” related how a needle was inserted into his arm, “just where a tattooed lightning bolt strikes.” Hlavaty […]


‘Home run’ gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Investor-oriented coverage pitches promise but …

Biotech investor magazines and websites were buzzing last week over the news that Boston-based Sarepta Pharmaceuticals released preliminary findings of an experimental gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Various analysts dubbed it “spectacular,” a “home run,” and a “game-changer.” One analyst with Baird, a financial company, went so far as to proclaim: “Given today’s […]


Celebrity colonoscopy parties – great fun ‘every other year’?

Celebrity news about health care choices is often fraught with misinformation. Celebrity news about screening tests may be the leading category of such misinformation. Titillating tidbits about the stars, but there’s potential harm if the take-home message to readers is “Gee, maybe you should do what these smart, rich people are doing.” Enter People magazine, […]


Understanding medical tests: A new addition to our toolkit addressing sensitivity, specificity, and other core concepts

Hardly a day goes by without some media outlet making an impressive-sounding claim about the accuracy of a new medical test. “Prostate cancer breakthrough as UK team develops more accurate test“ “New Breath and Urine Tests May Detect Early Breast Cancer More Accurately” “Portable device detects severe stroke in seconds with 92% accuracy” But as […]

15 6/20/2018

HealthNewsReview.org’s 12-year run will end with some nagging questions unanswered

It appears that this unique project’s span of more than 12 years of public service to journalism and to the general public will end in December when HealthNewsReview.org ceases publication. Our current funding ends then with no replacement funding in sight, and I will slip into retirement. I will still post an occasional piece. And […]


News outlets focus on one dramatic outcome. But did researchers omit data from hundreds in clinical trial?

Last week we reported on ‘One cancer patient’s dramatic response to immunotherapy…’ and highlighted what we thought was a lack of healthy skepticism in the extensive (and mostly fawning) news coverage. Most importantly we wanted to show that by highlighting the dramatic response of a single patient — without cautioning readers that just one dramatic […]


‘Unconscionable’: Cleveland Clinic tweets misleading scans promoting experimental vaccine for incurable brain cancer

A tweet from the Cleveland Clinic showing before-and-after brain scans of a man who received an experimental immunotherapy vaccine drew more than 1,000 likes and shares last week: Sure looks as if the vaccine wiped out that tumor, eh? UK tabloid the Daily Mail snapped it up, reporting: “A revolutionary injection to treat the rare […]

1 6/14/2018

Headlines raise alarm over prescription drug depression risk. But who qualifies as depressed?

Hard to tell if these headlines are using fear-mongering as clickbait, or simply riding the latest wave of stories reporting on the escalating suicide rates in the U.S.: Millions are taking drugs, including birth control, that increase the risk of suicide (Quartz) Study: Adults Use Medications That Can Lead to Depression and Suicide (US News […]


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