2 2/27/2018

News coverage of crowdfunding appeals may help some people, but hidden costs are steep

Colorado’s Pueblo Chieftan recently informed its readers about a plea to raise money for a local man who was paralyzed in a car wreck. On a cold and icy Jan. 15, Johnny Grove, 38, was on his way to help a friend gather firewood for art projects. It was typical of his willingness to always […]

3 2/26/2018

Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cancer: What you need to know

Two weeks ago it was “ultra-processed” foods and cancer. Last week it was sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cancer. Two cohort studies that can show a link between one factor and another, but cannot conclude one factor (like a food or drink) actually caused the other (cancer). But such studies often become media darlings. Maybe because […]


5-Star Friday: ‘A step away from the norm of the daily drumbeat’

In this installment of 5-Star Friday — our regular feature highlighting excellent health care writing that caught our eye — we noticed a bit of a common thread. Our publisher Gary Schwitzer called it “a step away from the norm of the daily drumbeat.” The topics covered below are ones you’ll read about week after […]

14 2/22/2018

Pulling back the curtain on ‘The Doctors’ and ‘The Dr. Oz Show:’ What our analysis revealed

Earlier this month, Mehmet Oz, MD celebrated his 1,500th “Dr. Oz” show. Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King and Martha Stewart made appearances, proffering congratulations and discussing everything from mercury in fish to the #metoo movement. I felt less jubilant: In the decade that The Dr. Oz Show has been on the air, it hasn’t been unusual […]

2 2/21/2018

Drinking alcohol key to living past 90? What you need to know

Here’s a recipe for misinformation: Take two topics well known to generate clicks: alcohol and longevity. Find a study that suggests alcohol increases longevity. Fail to mention the study is observational but still emphasize cause-and-effect language in your headline. Here’s what you get: Drinking Alcohol Key to Living Past 90 (NY Daily News) But it […]

1 2/20/2018

A perfect storm for broken bones or for disease-mongering of osteoporosis?

Last week in The New York Times, Jane Brody predicted “A Perfect Storm for Broken Bones.”  But the column has elements of a perfect storm of disease-mongering. She writes that “fewer adults at risk of advanced bone loss and fractures are undergoing tests for bone density, resulting in a decline in the diagnosis and treatment of […]


Podcast: Timothy Caulfield – fighting Goop and cheating death

Timothy Caulfield, the author of “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?” shares his thoughts on the battle of science vs. hype, public trust in science, the importance of social media in health care journalism, the art of communicating health care information, and — of course — the role of celebrity in pseudoscience.


‘Ultra-processed’ foods and cancer: Headlines show the right way, and the wrong way, to frame study results

Today’s headlines on ultra-processed foods and cancer offer a good case study in the right way — and the wrong way — to frame the results of an observational study about diet and the risk of disease. The stories are based on a French study in which more than 100,000 people were asked about their […]

4 2/15/2018

Advocates push for access to secret clinical data, while FDA drags its feet

A recent analysis of once-secret clinical trial data concluded that a popular morning sickness drug, Diclegis, doesn’t actually work. That surprising finding, made possible by the release of previously undisclosed data by Canadian regulators, drew a barrage of headlines, including coverage by Reuters, Healthline, and HealthDay. But those news reports didn’t mention a much bigger […]

1 2/14/2018

Why does CMV get so much less news coverage than Zika — despite causing far more birth defects?

There are two viral diseases that, if they infect pregnant mothers, can cause birth defects and a range of other health problems for their babies. One disease affects thousands of infants each year in the United States, while the other affects fewer than a hundred. Why has news coverage focused almost exclusively on the less […]


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