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.
10 11/15/2018

How some journalists got hooked by fish oil and vitamin D spin

Results of a much-anticipated trial on fish oil and vitamin D generated conflicting headlines last weekend. Some stories declared good news about the popular supplements: Reuters wrote that fish oil “can dramatically reduce the odds of a heart attack while vitamin D’s benefits seem to come from lowering the risk of death from cancer.” The […]


With free brain tumor screening, the road to early detection may be filled with potholes

The Brain Tumor Foundation’s Road to Early Detection is in Brooklyn, New York, this week, offering free brain tumor screening in its mobile MRI unit to anyone who signs up. The visit appears to be the foundation’s second stop on its current “sponsor-a-city” campaign. Earlier this year, the campaign visited Saratoga Springs, New York. Some local journalists enthusiastically […]

2 11/13/2018

‘Historic breakthrough Alzheimer patients around the globe have been awaiting’

Over the years, I have loved it when health care journalists send us tips. One recently wrote, “Have you all seen this BS? Some uneducated/informed friends are posting this on Facebook.” The BS she was referring to was our headline above, which appeared in the first sentence of a news story by WV News: The Independent […]

7 11/12/2018

Oh sh–! Almost forgot it’s C. diff Awareness Month!

Various advocacy interests have proclaimed November as the national (or global) awareness month for stomach cancer, osteoporosis, pancreatic cancer, prematurity, lung cancer, bladder health, Alzheimer’s disease, home health, family caregivers, and hospice/palliative care. And for the past four years, you’ve also been asked in November to heighten your awareness of Clostridium difficile — or “C. […]


5-Star Friday: Simplicity

Health care is complex, but so much of its excellence and effectiveness comes from simplicity. Our 5-star selections this week are good examples of this. Our first story features a world leader in cancer who believes in simple and straightforward communication of risk, but challenges the prevailing notion that cancer screening is a “simple” and […]


How minimally invasive surgery was spun as the ‘latest and greatest’ for cervical cancer

To understand how minimally invasive surgery for cervical cancer became popular before high-quality evidence was available about its outcomes, consider some rah-rah local news coverage. Back in 1995, for example, The Record of Hackensack, N.J., reported that laparoscopy “made surgery simpler and less painful,” with a doctor calling its tiny incisions a “breakthrough” for cervical […]


Early birds have lower breast cancer risk? What you need to know

Wake me when it’s over. There was a lot of misleading information in news stories this week about a study of sleep traits and risk of breast cancer. It was a complex study to decipher, but instead we got simplistic headlines like this one from HealthDay: “Early Birds May Have Lower Breast Cancer Risk.” That […]


Problematic PR releases: Medical studies backed by food industry trade groups

Long considered a downmarket cooking oil with ho-hum health benefits, cottonseed oil has now been linked to lowering cholesterol, according to a recent news release from the University of Georgia. As the release explains, “researchers suggested a fatty acid unique to cottonseed oil, dihydrosterculic acid, may help prevent the accumulation of triglycerides, a type of fat, in […]

4 11/5/2018

When medicine & media sugarcoat the true impact of patient harms

An important paper, “Reporting harms more transparently in trials of cancer drugs,” was published in The BMJ last week. Some excerpts follow, but also additional thoughts about how journalism and public relations (which sometimes are indistinguishable) make the matter worse. The paper’s lead author is Bishal Gyawali, MD, PhD an oncologist from Nepal currently working as […]

2 11/2/2018

Our team’s fond farewell for a terrific editor and a great guy

Today is Managing Editor Kevin Lomangino’s final day with, marking the beginning of the end for our project, which comes to a close in December. Besides Publisher Gary Schwitzer, nobody has had a bigger impact on the site than Kevin, who has written or edited thousands of reviews and blog posts since he joined […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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