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.

Self-promoting MDs hawk unproven COVID-19 pandemic treatments

A friend called last week to tell me about a doctor with a big Facebook following. Her concern? This doctor, Steven Hotze, MD, popular for his Houston-based wellness clinic, his books, and his many media appearances, says that people should not worry about COVID-19 because it’s no worse than the flu. Here’s an excerpt from […]


Strong caveats are lacking as news stories trumpet preliminary COVID-19 research

For years medical researchers held off while scientists in other fields embraced online platforms for posting rough drafts of manuscripts, known as preprints. Those websites accelerate basic science by allowing researchers to disseminate findings and get feedback on their work before submitting them to a traditional journal. Some argue that such rapid data sharing is […]


Federal health agencies block journalists’ access to COVID-19 experts & information

It is a form of censorship.  Journalists trying to cover COVID-19 are not allowed to talk with many federal health researchers or administrators without checking in first with government “public information officers” or PIOs. Sometimes the request is denied outright. Oftentimes, if a reporter is granted an interview, a PIO insists on sitting in on […]


The President and the pandemic: two months of dithering, deceit and distortion

On January 22, 2020, President Donald Trump told the American public: “We have it totally under control.”  No, we didn’t. We don’t. And no one can say how or when we will. I have compiled a roundup of Trump’s distortions, evasions, and lies on the coronavirus outbreak as documented by more than 20 diligent news organizations in news […]


Suffering sciatica! How 2 stories on same study reported with different emphases

This week we were presented with another opportunity to see how the framing of stories about medical studies matters. Are results reported almost unquestioningly, with an emphasis on potential benefits but with few or no caveats or limitations? Or is the potential benefit of the results presented right alongside potential limitations – with caveats and […]


News release labeling to combat a global scourge of exaggerated claims

Even with an unfolding pandemic, there’s no shortage of overreaching public relations news releases to mislead the public. Australia’s University of Queensland announced its researchers would deploy “rapid response technology” to develop a coronavirus vaccine “which could be available worldwide in as little as six months.” (Maybe we should wait six months to see if it, […]


How easy it is to be misled by Medicare Advantage marketing

Since I’ve started writing more about Medicare now that I am more learned and experienced with the program as a person of that age group, I want to share an important piece from the Center for Medicare Advocacy. The Center has published a series of articles “to counter-balance Medicare Advantage industry advertising.” Medicare Advantage plans […]


A machine-versus-doctors fixation masks important questions about artificial intelligence

Next time you go to the doctor, remember to bring your genome card.  What, you don’t have one? Of course you don’t. Wallet-sized cards containing a person’s genetic code don’t exist.  Yet they were envisioned in a 1996 Los Angeles Times article, which predicted that by 2020 the makeup of a person’s genome would drive […]


After a year on Medicare, advice for journalists on stories that need to be told

The annual Medicare open enrollment period ends soon.  America’s seniors have faced a blizzard of dismaying news about the program. Here are some excerpts from newsworthy stories that you should be aware of. The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information – Pro Publica. Excerpt: “The federal government recently redesigned […]


Why hire a full-time health reporter when you can buy news off the shelf?

While somewhere there is still some important investigative reporting going on in some local TV stations, here is a fresh warning to anyone who gets much of their health care information from local TV health news. A recent case in point – seen on television stations across the country – is news about a minimally […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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