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 - https://archive.org/web/.
7/30/2020

Things you should think about when you hear “vaccine by end of the year”

On July 27, 2020, the Washington Post reported, Two coronavirus vaccines begin the last phase of testing: 30,000-person trials, wrapping it in historical terms: At 6:45 a.m. Monday, a volunteer in Savannah, Ga., received a shot in the arm and became the first participant in a massive human experiment that will test the effectiveness of an experimental […]

7/28/2020

What you need to know about the Alzheimer’s test news

For years, substances called tau protein or beta-amyloid have been theorized to be signs or causes of Alzheimer’s disease.  There have been many reports of tests and treatments based on theories that tau and/or amyloid are at least signs, if not causes, of Alzheimer’s. Scientific uncertainty remains about the precise role of tau and amyloid […]

7/24/2020

HealthNewsReview.org in the news about COVID-19

I’ve been asked to do more interviews in the past six months than in any recent comparable time span.  COVID-19 is almost always the reason for the requests. Some of the more recent requests were spawned by the JAMA Viewpoint article, Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic, that I co-authored with Richard Saitz, MD, […]

7/21/2020

One day of COVID-19 drug & vaccine news provides cautious reminders

Before I even turned on my computer yesterday, the BBC had blared this headline about a trial of the protein interferon beta:The sub-headline read: The preliminary results of a clinical trial suggest a new treatment for Covid-19 reduces the number of patients needing intensive care, according to the UK company that developed it. Eventually some […]

7/21/2020

JAMA: Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic

Dr. Richard Saitz of Boston University School of Public Health and I co-authored this piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Here is an excerpt:

7/17/2020

Criticism of NY Times’ Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker

Yesterday on Twitter, several clinician-researchers urged me to weigh in on the New York Times’ introduction of a new Coronavirus Drug and Treatment Tracker. They were troubled by it. I was, too, when I saw it. But I had no time to address it yesterday and – more than 24 hours later – I still […]

7/13/2020

Why make international news out of 9 vague patient reports on remdesivir?

The Reuters headline blared, “One in three South Korean COVID-19 patients improve with remdesivir.”  The first sentence of the story repeated that number: “One in three South Korean patients seriously ill with COVID-19 showed an improvement in their condition after being given Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir, health authorities said.” One in three.  Was that 1,000 […]

7/3/2020

Some global reaction to the news of US mass purchase of remdesivir

Canadian physician-researcher James Brophy of McGill University read the news announcing, “US buys up world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir.” Rather than reacting with shock and scorn as many observers did, Brophy celebrated the announcement as “good news for the rest of us” around the globe. Why? He explained in an opinion piece published […]

6/30/2020

For breakfast, give me 2 observational studies and an anti-irritant

This is the way many of my days begin. I check for messages – across all media – and I see this on Twitter from Adam Cifu, MD, one of our former editorial contributors: I think this article was published just to irritate ⁦@VPrasadMDMPH⁩ and ⁦@garyschwitzer⁩ https://t.co/KWVqMEk3K8 — Adam Cifu (@adamcifu) June 30, 2020 Once […]

6/17/2020

Pharma PR appears as unvetted COVID-19 vaccine news in STAT newsletter

I’ve written about STAT’s Morning Rounds newsletter in the past, and criticized how STAT accepts pharma sponsorship of the newsletter. In the last two weeks, for example, the newsletter has featured sponsored content from: drug company AstraZeneca; the Biotechnology Innovation Organization – whose biggest sponsors include drug companies Lilly, Merck, Amgen, Johnson & Johnson; biotech […]

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