Search Results for "observational"
Can exercise ‘undo’ sedentary harms? AP story makes observational data sound definitive
The research at hand couldn’t prove one way or another if exercise can counteract sitting all day–and the story should have made that clearer.
To reverse damage of sitting, take a brisk, hour-long walk
Observational studies & the health messaging merry-go-round: Moderate alcohol, once “healthy,” now “not so good for you after all”
Carolina Branson, PhD, is an associate editor with HealthNewsReview.org. Her graduate work at the University of Minnesota focused on media studies and health. For years, we’ve been hearing moderate drinking is a health boon. From lowered heart disease risk to increased lifespan, the splashy headlines make for great media fodder. The problem: these stories are […]12
More BMJ overstatement about an observational study — this time it’s antidepressants and violent crime
The following is a guest blog post by Dr. Susan Molchan, one of our independent expert editorial contributors. Last week PLOS Medicine published the results of a large observational study that showed an association between the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of anti-depressants (e.g. Prozac and Paxil) and violent crime in young people. As a […]2
Coffee, colon cancer, and caveats about observational studies
A paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, “Coffee Intake, Recurrence, and Mortality in Stage III Colon Cancer,” is receiving a lot of news media attention, and much of it is incomplete on key points. The researchers concluded: “Higher coffee intake may be associated with significantly reduced cancer recurrence and death in patients with stage III colon […]
Weak reporting of limitations of observational research
A research letter in this week’s JAMA Internal Medicine addresses an issue that has become a pet peeve of ours: the failure of medical journal articles, journal news releases, and subsequent news releases, to address the limitations of observational studies. Observational studies, although important, cannot prove cause-and-effect; they can show statistical association but that does not […]6 3/3/2015
A tale of two observational studies – peanuts, coffee, heart health – and how the journals & some journalists handled them differently
I saw this coming as soon as I saw the BMJ news release about a study published in one of its journals, Heart. The BMJ, which seemed to have turned a corner recently, starting to include at least boilerplate news release language about the limitations of observational studies, dropped the ball on a new one. […]1
Coffee & melanoma: add to annals of abused translation of observational research
The annals of confusing news stories about observational studies showing an association between coffee and…fill in the blank…have a new entry. Do a Google search for “coffee and melanoma” and you’ll get thousands of returns. Many of these stories inappropriately used causal language – suggesting that a cause-and-effect had been proven, when it hadn’t. TIME, […]9/26/2014
Flawed news about skirt size-breast cancer observational study
The paper in the journal BMJ Open was entitled, “Association of skirt size and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in older women.” Association, not causation. That, alone, should have been a clue to journalists. If they missed that, certainly they’d follow the news release from the journal, right? That news release got it right: “Going up […]8/19/2014
Yay for a BMJ journal news release for including caveats about an observational study!
I’ve criticized them many times, so now it’s time to salute them. And let’s hope the news release writers for BMJ journals continue this practice. This week, in a news release about a paper in one of the journals published by the BMJ, the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, was this caveat: “This is […]3 7/29/2014
6th time I’ve called out BMJ news releases on observational studies
I do not enjoy this – repeatedly calling out The BMJ for its misleading news releases on observational studies. But I’m going to keep doing it until I see a change. The last time I did this, just two months ago, change was promised by The BMJ editor Trish Groves. But here we go again. […]17 1/22/2014
Misleading BMJ news releases may be one reason journalists report on more observational studies
Just a few days ago, a paper in the journal PLoS One, “Media Coverage of Medical Journals: Do the Best Articles Make the News?” showed how journalists are more likely to report on observational studies than on randomized clinical trials. The authors suggest this shows a systematic bias to report on weaker evidence. And here’s […]12 3/12/2013
A good example of how to report on an observational study
NPR’s Richard Knox has been around the block a few times – a veteran science journalist. And it shows in the way he covered a study pointing to an association – women who took aspirin had fewer diagnoses of melanoma. Emphasis on association, not causation. He allowed one of the author’s enthusiasm to come forth […]2 2/12/2013
Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time observational studies are miscommunicated. It just seems that way.
Health news this week is dripping with warm, gushing claims about the health benefits of chocolate – just in time for Valentine’s Day. Headlines such as: Chocolate – the love drug. Dark Chocolate & Red Wine – The food of love and health Chocolate is good for health and relationships. But one blogger wrote, “I […]1/21/2013
Observational Studies and Falsification Endpoints
Last week’s Journal of the American Medical Association included an article, “Prespecified Falsification End Points: Can They Validate True Observational Associations?” that got guest blogger Harold DeMonaco, MS, thinking in a way that might get you thinking. Here is his guest post: ————————————————- That JAMA article by Prasad and Jena offers a rather unique solution […]4 12/18/2012
Please, Grey Lady, don’t spill more coffee observational studies on us
The New York Times – in its print edition today and on its Well blog – reported, “Risks: Coffee Linked to Fewer Oral Cancer Deaths.” That is technically accurate. An observational study like this – actually a questionnaire-based survey of a large number of people – can point to a statistical association – a “link” […]