Podcast: The Microbiome

Our microbiome. We’re told it may hold the key to better understanding and treating a host of diseases. But the research isn’t even close to making that a reality. Nonetheless, the media continues to hype the microbiome and that has very real consequences.

7 4/26/2018

In embracing medical cannabis, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta cultivates another ethical quagmire

In a promo for his upcoming report on the role of marijuana in alleviating the opioid crisis, CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, MD, beckons viewers: “Join us as we investigate a search for answers and meet potential pioneers and outspoken critics. Whether you struggle with opioids or know one of the millions who do, […]


Insurance company red tape: a potentially deadly barrier to opioid addiction treatment

America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with more than 40,000 people dying from overdose each of the past two years and millions more at risk. News outlets have been covering the story from seemingly every angle.  And yet, there are still angles to be explored. In this story, NPR took on the […]


Number needed to treat – one way to frame harms vs. benefits: An update to our toolkit

A key to making an informed medical choice is weighing benefits and harms. But how do you know how likely you are to benefit from a medical treatment or procedure? In making these decisions it’s not always easy to decipher the latest research because clinical trial results on drugs and other interventions are communicated in […]

3 4/24/2018

A news story’s role in the death of son of Mothers Against Medical Error founder

Helen Haskell first learned about the surgical procedure that would ultimately kill her son by reading a local newspaper article. The article described the surgery, known as the Nuss procedure, as “a revolutionary type of surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.” It was being marketed as a new way to surgically correct pectus […]

1 4/19/2018

Between news release hype and peer-reviewed publication, patients wait in limbo

There is a delay of about 300 days from the time a drug company issues a news release about a new study of a cancer drug, to the time the complete results of the study are published in a peer-reviewed journal. This according to a study published last week in JAMA Oncology. This certainly raises […]


Uncovering new peer review problems – this time at The BMJ

A study published recently in The BMJ addressed a question with surefire media appeal: Does the political affiliation of doctors affect the quality of care that they provide to patients at the end of their lives? The story was snapped up by news organizations ranging from US News and World Report to the UK Daily […]

1 4/17/2018

On our 12th anniversary, we introduce a new series: patient harm from misleading media

April 17, 2018 is our 12th anniversary of daily publishing.  From the time we launched HealthNewsReview.org 12 years ago, we have been concerned about the very real harm that can be done to some patients from misleading media messages. Our project is perhaps the only one in the U.S. that provides the general public the […]

3 4/16/2018

A breast cancer study in mice gets big headlines, setting up potential for patient ‘disaster,’ experts say

“I spoke to several cancer specialists in New York City last night who said ‘caution, this is not ready for primetime.’” — ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. That’s the key quote from a recent Good Morning America “Cover Story” segment about a mouse study exploring why breast cancer sometimes spreads in the immediate months […]


5-Star Friday: Drugs, mice, and money

I doubt a week goes by at HealthNewsReview.org that we don’t write about one of the following … … drugs, mice, or money. You could rightly accuse me of being predictable when I say that following the money has gotten trickier in health care journalism; that pharma as a lobbyist makes the auto industry of […]


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