Search Results for "overtreatment"
3-D mammograms for all: political gimmickry that may harm more women than it helps
At the end of New York State’s legislative session two weeks ago, a bill mandating insurers to pay for tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography, passed the Senate, the last hurdle before reaching the governor’s desk. In truth, the bill had no hurdles. No dissenting votes – not in the Senate or in the Assembly, […]
5-Star Friday: Emotions vs. evidence
Every day we scrutinize media messages about health on this website. We encounter evidence — presumed by many to be logical and impartial — that is packaged, spun, and even altered by forces such as investors, egos, politics, and career concerns. Claims and promises are made. Often with much fanfare. Enter emotions. Those most affected by the evidence — […]
Even casual readers expect more than broad claims about screening tests. Where’s the data?
A new blood test “substantially reduces” the need for biopsy, but by how much really? Benefit data are given only in relative terms in this news release.
Study: New blood test is more accurate in predicting prostate cancer risk than PSA
“Less is more” theme from breast cancer conference attracts little mainstream news coverage
The last weekend in April the American Society of Breast Surgeons held their 18th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first day of the conference I wrote a blog post simply looking ahead and wondering how reporters would cover the event. What might emerge as a hot topic? Or, perhaps, be neglected? The post-conference […]
Five years wisely: A look at Choosing Wisely’s effort to reduce unnecessary medical care
Do you really need a CT scan for a headache? Or a test for Vitamin D? Maybe not, yet these are a few of the hundreds of examples of medical tests or treatments that are given to patients but may be unnecessary and even possibly harmful, according to the folks behind Choosing Wisely, an initiative that […]12
Is PSA now “OK”? What the task force really said about the evidence on prostate cancer screening
Reading the headlines on the US Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) update to its prostate cancer screening guidelines, you might come away with the idea that the task force has completely reversed its 2012 recommendation against broad-based prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. But that would be the wrong impression. What the revised guideline does is make a […]
Mayo touts new blood test to improve cardiovascular risk prediction; doesn’t acknowledge that we’ve been down this road before
C-reactive protein, coronary artery calcium, lipoprotein (a) and many other biomarkers have been proposed to improve cardiovascular risk assessment. This release introduces a new contender, but it’s just one of many that haven’t been proven to make a difference.
New blood test may predict cardiovascular events in patients with or without coronary artery disease, research shows
Screening MRI for breast cancer: news release is strong on costs and novelty
More discussion on the study limitations and the test’s accuracy in ruling out the presence of disease (its specificity) would have made it even better.
Screening MRI benefits women at average risk of breast cancer
Is it asthma? Many diagnosed with condition receive unnecessary or incorrect treatment
As many as 1 in 3 adults diagnosed with asthma may not actually have the disease, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Canadian researchers evaluated 613 patients with physician-diagnosed asthma and found that 203 participants (33%) most likely did not have the disease. After an additional 12 months […]
WHO exposes deceptive promotion of industry-supported FRAX osteoporosis screening tool
When the World Health Organization (WHO) speaks people usually listen. As the planet’s premier health policy-making body, the WHO influences healthcare and medical practice around the globe. Their expert committees create reports that underpin guidelines, affecting the health care delivered by practitioners on every continent. When the WHO issues a particularly controversial statement, you’d think […]
Testing cholesterol in toddlers: AP story says it ‘could help’ but study didn’t show that
The story’s framing takes the stance that finding a risk factor very early on in life leads to an overall benefit. That may well be prove to be true, but neither the story nor the study being reported on provide evidence of that.
Testing cholesterol in toddlers, even younger? Study says it could help
Just for journalists: Tips and case studies for writing about health care
Writing about health care is complex and nuanced. On this page for journalists, we offer 1) primers for writing about complex medical topics, 2) advice for common pitfalls healthcare journalists face, and 3) in-depth case studies on how we cracked open several important medical stories in recent years. Another page–tips for analyzing studies & health care claims–also has primers […]
As radiologists push for “virtual” colonoscopy coverage, risk of misleading readers is real
The American College of Radiology (ACR), together with the Colon Cancer Alliance and other advocacy groups, want you to know that they’re urging Medicare to cover seniors for “virtual” colonoscopy screening (also known as CT colonography). Virtual colonoscopy is widely touted as an image-guided, less-invasive alternative to the standard colonoscopies that we’re all familiar with. […]2
Mayor: 3-D mammogram saved my life. Our reviewers: wrong message.
A hospital wishing to promote its new 3-D mammography equipment couldn’t ask for much more than this: stories on Fox News, by WSB Atlanta, by WWMT in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the Tulsa World, the Associated Press and Sacramento Bee and Charlotte Observer, the New York Daily News, and more. It all happened because Mayor Gina Nobel of Stillwater, OK, […]
Release on prostate cancer screening stokes fears
Do targeted biopsies ultimately lead to fewer deaths as claimed in the release? Years of prostate cancer research hasn’t borne that out.