‘OK to wait’ or ‘Delay at your own risk?’ Headspinning headlines on same colonoscopy study

Headline messages about new studies often present conflicting–even polar opposite–takeaway messages about the research. Consider these clashing messages out yesterday from HealthDay and Reuters Health about the same study: If you drill down into each story you’ll find basically the same description of the results: Waiting up to 10 months after a positive stool test […]


Five years wisely: A look at Choosing Wisely’s effort to reduce unnecessary medical care

Do you really need a CT scan for a headache? Or a test for Vitamin D? Maybe not, yet these are a few of the hundreds of examples of medical tests or treatments that are given to patients but may be unnecessary and even possibly harmful, according to the folks behind Choosing Wisely, an initiative that […]

4 4/21/2017

Diet soda and stroke & dementia news coverage: 3 key points weren’t always reported

The Framingham Heart Study group will turn 70 next year. That’s given them enough time to start studying the offspring of their original study cohort — which they have done since 1971 —  as well as know how to cautiously present results from their bread-and-butter: long-term observational studies. Which is what they do with a study […]

2 4/20/2017

PODCAST: Wellness programs – do they work?

Wellness programs in the United States are an $8 billion industry. Over 50 million Americans are enrolled in such programs. They are as variable in size and quality as the companies and organizations that offer them. In this podcast you’ll hear 3 voices: A skeptic who thinks the vast majority of these programs don’t work and may […]

2 4/19/2017

In the news race to report CDC’s numbers on HPV infection rates, some important context was missing

Most teens aren’t getting vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV), putting them at higher risk for cancer when they become sexually active. That’s a serious problem. But news coverage shouldn’t inflate that risk in conveying the message that parents and doctors need to act. That’s what happened with HPV prevalence data released on April 6th by […]


11th birthday for the HealthNewsReview.org watchdog

5,200 articles – all of them trying to help people improve their critical thinking about health care interventions.  A team of about 50 contributors – almost all of them part-time.  An international reach with a growing audience. There’s much to celebrate on the 11th anniversary of the launch of HealthNewsReview.org.  A screenshot of our home […]

6 4/17/2017

Selling Adult ADHD: NPR coverage helps advance drug industry marketing campaign

“Do You Zone Out? Procrastinate? Might be Adult ADHD.” If you think this sounds like the prelude to a drug commercial you’re not far off the mark. This NPR story reports on a short screening scale or test for adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) disorder as published in JAMA Psychiatry. The gist of the news was the […]

1 4/14/2017

5-Star Friday: More screening, more vitamins and more advocacy can only be good, right?

If there’s a common question running through this week’s 5-star Friday, it is this: Is more always better? As someone who has worked in healthcare, my typical answer is that more evidence is certainly better. (As is more listening and empathy, for that matter!) And as someone who reads a fair amount of health care reporting, I would […]

12 4/13/2017

Is PSA now “OK”? What the task force really said about the evidence on prostate cancer screening

Reading the headlines on the US Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) update to its prostate cancer screening guidelines, you might come away with the idea that the task force has completely reversed its 2012 recommendation against broad-based prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. But that would be the wrong impression. What the revised guideline does is make a […]


What you’re not being told about ‘free’ public head and neck cancer screening events

‘Tis the season of oral, head, and neck cancer screenings, with a plethora of free public events taking place at health clinics and hospitals all over the country right now. Judging by the abundant and largely uncritical news coverage, it’s been a major PR win for the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, which runs the trademarked […]


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