3 8/22/2017

5 questions to ask when writing (and reading) about new Alzheimer’s drug research

Now is a good time to prepare for the onslaught of public relations messages about new Alzheimer’s disease (AD) drugs that are coming down the pike. This fall, at least six phase III AD drug trials will be wrapping up–and it’s a sure bet their findings will be published in both major and minor journals […]


Imbalanced ‘Saved by the Scan’ campaign neglects big concerns over lung cancer screening

Everyone who has ever smoked cigarettes should take this quiz because “Lung cancer screening could save your life,” according to the American Lung Association’s (ALA) new “Saved by the Scan” campaign. But after taking that quiz, almost all current or former smokers (roughly 9 out of 10) will learn that they’re not good candidates for […]


5-Star Friday: Tackling the unwieldy

Many of the health care journalists we review are brave, intrepid, or both. Health care is not an easy beat. It’s quite a mash-up of science, politics, economics, ethics, law, technology and … well … us. These are big topics. A bit unwieldy. The writers featured in this week’s 5-Star Friday have taken on some […]


Poynter Institute ethics policy revised following our criticism

A leading journalism training organization, the Poynter Institute, has revised its ethics policy following constructive criticism by HealthNewsReview.org last month. That criticism was spawned by Poynter’s announcement of two science journalism workshops, “SciFacts: Fighting Misinformation & Reporting Truthfully on the Science Beat,” sponsored by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), a group created and […]

4 8/17/2017

Experts recommend pulling widely used heart attack test: Should this have made headlines?

For decades the creatine kinase-myocardial band test, or CK-MB for short, was the go-to blood test doctors used to determine if a patient’s heart muscle had been damaged by a heart attack (or, myocardial infarction). But over the past few years the reliability of the test has been called into question by several major, peer-reviewed […]


Investors aren’t the only ones burned by misleading drug company news releases

The Wall Street Journal this week explained Why Early Peeks at Drug Trials Are Giving Investors Whiplash. It’s a thoughtful look at the impact of pharmaceutical company news releases on market psychology and investors. Here’s how they framed the issue: To comply with securities requirements of timely disclosure of material information, companies often issue brief […]


What a little Twitter chat can do to stop #stemcellhype

What fuels hype? I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit since we hosted a Twitter chat last week addressing #stemcellhype (summarized HERE on Storify). We wanted to explore the boom in unregulated stem cell clinics offering unproven therapies across the country. These clinics are being marketed in an increasingly aggressive and mainstream fashion. More […]

3 8/15/2017

TIME’s ‘miracle cure’ coverage reflects common problems with cancer stories

  We have a list of words that we think health care journalists should avoid — it’s seven words long. This TIME article packs two of them into this 4-word headline: Cancer’s Newest Miracle Cure The story features a patient narrative to illustrate a new cancer treatment that’s been getting a lot of press. The treatment, […]


Why you should be wary of ‘ovarian reserve testing’ events at fertility clinics

In Austin where I live, the Texas Fertility Center has been promoting a free “ovarian reserve testing” event to women who are concerned about their chances for getting pregnant–either now or in the somewhat-distant future. I caught wind of this promotion, which also was the focus of a recent KTBC Fox 7 Austin news segment, after […]


2nd anniversary of Health News Watchdog podcast

The Health News Watchdog podcast has been produced and published 33 times, with about 25,000 listens in just two years.  Are you kidding me? There’s no way I thought that would happen when I returned to the airwaves – after decades away – with my first podcast for this project in August of 2015. I […]


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