Note to our followers: Due to a lack of sufficient funding, will cease daily publication of new content at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. If you wish to donate, your gift might help keep the site available to the public for a few more years, by defraying costs of web hosting and maintenance. All of our 6,000+ published articles contain lessons to help people improve their critical thinking about health care. Read more about our change in status. And here's how to make a donation.

5-Star Friday: Movers & shakers

There are voices in healthcare that don’t get heard nearly enough; certainly the general public may not even know they exist. That’s understandable in a time when many of us feel swamped by too much information coming at us from too many directions. It can be difficult to sift through all the choices and separate […]


Journal case reports can’t ‘explode myths’ — but they can encourage shoddy news stories

Take a guess where these headlines come from: Parkinsonism can be cured Therapeutic use of intermittent fasting for people with Type2 diabetes as an alternative to insulin Although the language wouldn’t be out of place in a supermarket tabloid, these headlines are actually from The BMJ Case Reports journal; more specifically, from a collection labeled “Myths […]

1 10/17/2018

Problematic PR releases: As evidence lags on proton therapy, hospitals lure patients with anecdotes and high-tech appeals

A recent news release from Michigan’s Beaumont Medical Center shared the story of an 8-year-old girl with a brain tumor who traveled from Hawaii to be treated at the hospital’s proton therapy center. Its heart-warming details include how the girl bonded with her medical team, gave them candy from her home state, and hopped onto […]


These prostate cancer screening campaigns are giving men the finger

Fifty years ago, in a golden moment of television comedy shows, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In program regularly featured “The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate” award.  Wikipedia says it “recognized actual dubious achievements by public individuals or institutions.” Do a Google search.  You’ll quickly see how popular this award became. Yes, I’m dating myself by going […]

2 10/15/2018

The tsunami of not-ready-for-primetime health care news

On one recent day – a quite normal day in the life of our team – we watched the latest wave of the tsunami of not-ready-for-primetime medical research news coming in to drown the American public. Jill Adams, who is on the board of the National Association of Science Writers, did her daily search […]

2 10/12/2018

‘Reverse’ diabetes with intermittent fasting? What you need to know

A health care message can get polluted, diluted, and distorted by many people as it moves from researchers, through journals and press releases, and ultimately into the news coverage. Here’s an example of what happens when it starts at the source with grandiose language used by the study authors, is perpetuated in newswire/releases and the […]


Now THIS is fake health news – and it appears in major newspapers across the U.S.

The story began:  “It is not often that another country beats the US to a medical breakthrough.  So when it happens, you know it’s something special.” But buyer beware.  Because it’s not so special when the story is bylined from “The Associated Health Press.” That’s not the venerable Associated Press wire service.  It’s a copycat […]


Headline vs. Study: Using cancer as clickbait

Using cancer as clickbait is ubiquitous and worrisome. It’s one thing to highlight studies that represent genuine progress, and quite another to write hopeful headlines about studies that are clearly not ready for prime time. Such is the case with 4 of the stories we feature below. It may seem like too widespread a problem […]

4 10/9/2018

It’s time for AAAS and EurekAlert! to crack down on misinformation in PR news releases

Whenever you see a news story that contains imbalanced and inaccurate information about health care, you’d be justified in wondering whether the content originated with a poor-quality PR news release. We’ve been demonstrating how these promotional documents can mislead readers about animal studies, phase 1 research, and minimally invasive surgery — to name just a few of the […]


5-Star Friday: Integrity

Sometimes all it takes is a little Bob Marley; not just his music, but quotes like this: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” When integrity is lost — especially by those who we expect it […]


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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