3/17/2005

Why so much hype for one procedure?

The New York Times and at least one television network newscast profiled a first-of-its-kind aortic valve implant done through a catheter feeding the device through a vein in the patient’s leg rather than by open heart surgery. Why such hype? As the Times reports, the operation was the first of “at least 150 that federal […]

3/2/2005

Beyond cures, breakthroughs and news releases

Please see my article on the Poynter Institute website today. It touches on cheerleading in coverage of health news, on commercialism in health news coverage, on widespread conflicts of interest in the dissemination of health news, on the power of words in health news, and on some of the good things being done to improve […]

1/5/2005

Journalists: how will states handle Medicaid this year?

Journalists should scrutinize their state legislatures’ handling of Medicaid in 2005. Feeling squeezed by the feds, states are caught in a bind. Minnesota Public Radio quoted the state finance commissioner: “Health and human services is growing 20 percent from one biennium to the next. We don’t have revenues growing at that rate. And that’s a […]

12/21/2004

Journalists (and scientists) should use absolute risks

Stories like today’s about naproxen causing “a 50 percent greater risk of heart attacks and stroke than placebo” can be meaningless if they don’t provide the ABSOLUTE risk. The 50% figure is the relative risk — naproxen’s rate relative to placebo. But we’re not told the ABSOLUTE rate: how many people actually had heart attacks […]

12/6/2004

Ten Troublesome Trends in TV Health News

See my review article in this week’s British Medical Journal. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/329/7478/1352

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