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.

We have everything to fear, including fear itself

In 1997 Frank Furedi — an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent — wrote a critically acclaimed book entitled, “How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the 21st Century.” In that book he tells the story of the public reaction to a magazine cover portraying a little girl fishing with her father. […]


Holy grail cancer test? Hold on. Here’s what you need to know

Australian researchers at the University of Queensland reported that “a quick and easy test to detect cancer from blood or biopsy tissue could eventually result in a new approach to patient diagnosis.” A news release quoted one of the researchers: “We certainly don’t know yet whether it’s the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics.” He also […]

1 12/5/2018

Year-ender 2018: Here’s how we can clean up the polluted stream of health care news

If there’s one thing our project has demonstrated unequivocally during its 12-plus-year run, it’s that many media messages about health care interventions are incomplete, imbalanced, and inaccurate – some of them egregiously so. But how do we restore balance and improve the information reaching the public? That’s a question that can’t be answered without understanding […]


Podcast: The top 10 quotes of 2018

Our 50th podcast takes a look back at some memorable conversations from the past year.

There’s quite a mix of insights here on everything from what it means to ‘cure’ Alzheimer’s and ‘survive’ cancer, to ‘science-ploitation’ and cutting through the hype surrounding precision medicine and the microbiome.


5-Star Friday: Assumptions

Many of the medical truths we hold to be self-evident are actually assumptions. Our 5-Star selections this week are good examples. Many of us assume medical devices are rigorously tested before going to market. That bed rest keeps premature labor at bay. Or, that electronic medical records (EMRs) will make health care delivery more streamlined […]


A veteran science communicator’s guidelines for PR news releases on medical research

  Earlier this week, HealthNewsReview publisher Gary Schwitzer wrote that the free news release review program he had offered was shutting down.  You could almost hear the disappointment in his explanation that barely more than a half-dozen institutions took advantage of this offer in the past 20 months it was available. “What more we can […]

2 11/27/2018

Is social media hurting science … and people?

Is social media a friend or foe of science? An opinion piece published in JAMA last week suggests the latter: Protecting the Value of Medical Science in the Age of Social Media and ‘Fake News‘ The authors argue social media poses a threat to science in several ways: Unfettered publication of unvetted information by sources […]

1 11/26/2018

Ending our offer of free pre-publication review of PR news releases

We are bewildered.  We don’t know what more we can do. There’s never been a service like ours that reviews the news and critiques it to try to improve the public dialogue about health care in the U.S.   There’s never been a service that reviews the quality of health care PR news releases.  And […]


Podcast: Our team reflects on what we’ve learned

After over 12 years of scrutinizing medical news to help improve the public dialogue on health care, closes up shop at the end of 2018.

In this podcast, the seven members of our staff take a look back and share what they’ve learned from the experience.

16 11/19/2018

Making Medicare choices in a marketplace mess: emperor wears no clothes

If you’re 65 or older, you may be in the middle of a Medicare decision-making mess right now because it’s open enrollment time. If you’re younger than 65, all I can say is “Good luck when you get to this point.” I’ll be on Medicare for the first time in about a month and a […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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