“Blood test finds 50 types of cancer” – we’ve been down this path before

Shoddy, incomplete, fawning news coverage of screening tests is one of the most clearly established problems in health news coverage – something HealthNewsReview.org has revealed countless times over the past 15 years. A public relations news release 22 days ago – from “a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early” – touted study […]

Two different assessments of COVID-19 pandemic news coverage

Two new journalistic analyses of 2020-2021 pandemic news coverage were released this week.  I was interviewed in each of them. Science journalist Faye Flam produced a new episode for her “Follow the Science” podcast, with funding from the Society for Professional Journalists. She interviewed me, David Leonhardt of the New York Times and David Wallace-Wells of […]

Zombie health care news

Although I am advancing rapidly into almost complete retirement, there are some days/weeks when I can’t refrain from pointing out some of the troubling health care news I see.  This is one such week. First, the COVID zombie news My local Star Tribune newspaper delivered this front page news:  University of Minnesota, Mayo report COVID-fighting […]

Transparency watchdog criticizes STAT’s non-disclosure on pro-Pharma op-ed

Should publications that post op-ed pieces tell us more about who wrote the op-ed and what their potential biases and conflicts of interest might be? I’m in the camp that answers a resounding YES. Till Bruckner is, too. He writes for Transparify, an organization that rates “the financial transparency of major think tanks.” He is […]

Tech sites hype Apple Watch for COVID-19 prediction without providing the evidence

Milwaukee oncologist Michael Thompson, MD, wrote to me yesterday morning (February 10)  about an article – “New Study Suggests Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensor Can Predict COVID-19 Up to a Week Before a Swab Test” – promoted on Twitter by MacRumors.com. The story was about the so-called Warrior Watch Study at Mount Sinai Medical Center in […]

Our 3,222 systematic reviews of journalism & PR will be gone soon

Part of our website is going away April 1. But major features of the site will remain.  Here’s the breakdown and some background. When I started publishing HealthNewsReview.org 15 years ago, the only content was news story reviews. To be more specific, we only reviewed news stories that included claims about health care interventions (treatments, […]

Reflections on 2020: You can’t mask this reality

It is deeply disheartening for me to reflect on how health care information was miscommunicated so often by so many different players in 2020.  In my 47-year career, I never saw a President, his Administration, some federal health agency leaders, many elected officials and so many others distort and deceive and mislead Americans so often […]

Things you should think about when you hear “vaccine by end of the year”

On July 27, 2020, the Washington Post reported, Two coronavirus vaccines begin the last phase of testing: 30,000-person trials, wrapping it in historical terms: Getty Images At 6:45 a.m. Monday, a volunteer in Savannah, Ga., received a shot in the arm and became the first participant in a massive human experiment that will test the effectiveness of […]

Drug company influence on journalism

Many times through the years, HealthNewsReview.org has criticized the National Press Foundation in Washington, DC, for accepting drug company funding for journalism training.  (See articles from June 2009, July 2009, August 2010, September 2010, October 2010, March 2014, March 2015, December 2015, November 2019. I may have missed a few, but you get the picture.) They’re doing it […]

Crazy week of PR & news on studies should teach us how/what to ignore

Getty Images On Tuesday, it was excitement over vaccine news in 12 monkeys. (Journalism example.) On Wednesday, it was excitement over vaccine news in cells from mice.  (National Institutes of Health PR example.) We’re going down the food chain.  Today is Thursday.  By Friday, we may be getting excited for nematodes that are vaccinated. Let […]