Search Results for "limits of observational studies"
3 reasons not to believe these 7 reasons that beer is good for you
Most people I know don’t need seven reasons to drink beer. But when those reasons are “science-backed” that’s grounds for a WooHoo! from Homer Simpson, and at least a click from many readers. You might guess these “7 Science-Backed Ways Beer is Good for Your Health” (subtitled, of course, “A beer a day may keep […]1
Today’s alcohol and breast cancer headlines are wrong: Here’s how news reports could have done better
Multiple news outlets are running stories today about the role of alcohol in promoting breast cancer risk. ABC: Consuming just 1 alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk, report finds Washington Post: Just one alcoholic drink a day increases risk of breast cancer, study says USA Today: One small drink a day increases breast […]
Release on erectile dysfunction drug mortality benefit lacks hard numbers, but otherwise performs well
The release notes that retrospective studies like this one do not prove cause and effect. Why? Because they’re observational.
Erectile dysfunction drugs are safe, possibly beneficial after heart attack
Why you should beware of those aiming to “separate fact from fiction” in nutrition research
One thing that is almost fundamental to living in the modern age is having someone tell you what to eat. Just this past weekend NPR informed us, “Eating More — Or Less — Of 10 Foods May Cut Risk Of Early Death.” Yet the myths that surround nutrition, food, vitamins and so on are legion, […]
5-Star Friday: Unvetted public relations & silencing science
STAT – which we often admire for its thoughtful and thorough journalism – had a busy and commendable week. Earlier this week they published two excellent articles addressing timely and provocative topics. Though they weren’t the type of stories that are eligible to be systematically reviewed by our expert team, each of them is worthy of five stars in […]
Reuters Health succinctly and accurately summarizes study looking at bystander CPR and survivor rates
The story did a good job providing exact numbers on what the researchers measured, and it mentioned a few limitations to the study.
Bystander CPR may boost survival odds when ambulance delayed
Will a few extra pounds save you or kill you? Science can’t tell us, yet news stories project certainty
Carolina Branson, PhD is an associate editor with HealthNewsReview.org. She tweets as @BransonCarolina. To diet, or not to diet? That is the question. And if you’re like some health care journalists who have covered the phenomenon called the “obesity paradox” over the last several years, you may have suggested to readers that a little extra […]3/4/2015
BMJ back on bad track with its news releases: now gout & Alzheimer’s
Biostatistician Dr. Donald Berry of MD Anderson Cancer Center wrote to me recently, “My assessment of the landscape of observational studies, including much of epidemiology, ranges from bleak to parched earth.” That should get your attention about why we – all of us who communicate about research findings – need to do a better job […]2/9/2015
Endometrial cancer joins the “coffee club” in which association ≠ causation
Did the latest round of causal claims about a coffee observational study stem from a news release? I’m betting so, because not many journalists I know regularly read the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers & Prevention, which is where the latest coffee study appeared. Indeed, that’s a journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research. AACR […]1 8/21/2014
Misleading PBS story: Study shows prostate cancer risk rises in male cyclists over 50
One of our readers tipped me off to the flaws in this recent story posted by PBS Newshour. And if you read the reader comments left online in response to the story, you’ll see that she wasn’t the only one who was troubled. For such a short story, there’s a lot wrong here. The […]