5-Star Friday: Give us more!

It’s not hard to fathom why many people think more medicine is better; after all, the word “healthcare” is made up of two principles we typically value and want more of. But we’ve gotten to a point where the medicalization of our lives — and the mega-profits and harms that come with it — are […]


Problematic PR releases: Health claims based on animal studies

Optimism may be a virtue, but not in news releases on animal studies. As we’ve written, what works in mice doesn’t necessarily work in humans. Yet we often see news releases confidently proclaiming that animal studies portend health claims for people. Take these recent examples with rosy outlooks: Soy diets might increase women’s bone strength from […]


CBD products don’t need a marketing push from journalists

Growing acceptance of medical marijuana has spurred aggressive marketing of CBD (cannabidiol), a non-intoxicating cannabis derivative that’s being added to things like skin cream, candy, and dog snacks. While a CBD-containing drug was recently approved to treat two severe forms of epilepsy, there’s scant evidence for other health claims. Nevertheless, marketers are promoting CBD to treat […]


What you need to know about news stories claiming ‘smartphones speed up blindness’

U.S. News & World Report is one of many news outlets running a story about the potential damage smartphones can do to your eyes. The stories are almost all based on a University of Toledo, Ohio news release headlined,  “UT CHEMISTS DISCOVER HOW BLUE LIGHT SPEEDS BLINDNESS.” Almost all of these stories warn that the blue […]

4 8/16/2018

Too Much Medicine: A small medical conference with a big impact

The Too Much Medicine (TMM) conference is small, but has a potentially huge impact.  We cover plenty of medical conferences about heart disease, cancer, and dementia (to name a few) that trigger tsunamis of media coverage because they –quite obviously and understandably — affect millions of people and involve grave outcomes. But the TMM conference, wrapping […]

2 8/14/2018

Exercise improves mental health? What you need to know

Last week, HealthDay News (and many other news sites) covered a study from The Lancet Psychiatry looking at the association between exercise and depression. People who said they exercised tended to report fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who said they didn’t exercise, according to the study. That finding was unfortunately misreported […]


The art of the non-news release: News you can’t use

Sometimes the most obvious questions are the most important; such as, is a news release newsworthy? I don’t think these three news releases, all published on the same day last week, even come close to qualifying: Enrollment Passes Halfway Milestone in Clinical Trial Evaluating the Effect of an Exclusive Human Milk Diet Including a Specialty […]


Podcast: Emergency docs highlight toxic health care myths

A trip to the emergency department is never a welcome experience, but it can be made worse — or even be triggered by — a patient’s unrealistic expectations.

Veteran emergency doctors Jerome Hoffman, M.D., and Greg Henry, M.D., discuss how misleading media messages can feed myths that lead to patient harms, and what patients and physicians can do about it.


Reader’s Digest goes off the rails with ‘Doctor visits you need to make at every age’

Reader’s Digest proudly touts itself as one of the most trusted media brands. But can its more than 3 million subscribers – and 19.3 million readers – trust its recommendations about which screening tests they need as they move through the decades of their lives? There are a number of recommendations made in its recent […]

2 8/9/2018

Do wellness programs work? A unique study does much more than offer a possible answer

If you’re one of our regular readers I’ll bet your ears echo from hearing us bang these drums over and over: When OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES find an association between two things it does NOT mean one thing CAUSED the other thing to happen. The gold standard of evidence-based medicine is confirming or refuting findings via multiple […]


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