Annals of abused translation of observational data
Improving the public dialogue about health care
In our systematic, criteria-driven story reviews
Every day we ask a team of reviewers to grade and offer constructive criticism of news stories by a set number of top news organizations. To be eligible, the story must include a claim about a treatment, test, product or procedure. Here's what we reviewed last week:
* A Wall Street Journal "Aches & Claims" column got a
(5-star) score for a story on bergamot and blood cholesterol. Read why.
* Explaining how news coverage a la "Coffee May Cut Melanoma Risk" - and there was a lot of it - was wrong. Kudos to HealthDay for just 20 words: "The study only uncovered an association between coffee consumption and melanoma risk; it didn't provide a cause-and-effect relationship."
* Finally,a guest blog post from psychiatrist Susan Molchan, MD, criticized another psychiatrist's New York Times Well blog post because of how it reported that brain PET scans might produce a potential biomarker that could help psychiatrists predict response to treatment. Two more psychiatrist-critics also weighed in. It was a strong first guest post by Molchan, from whom we expect to see a lot more in the future.
Remember, behind the scenes, we're conducting "practice" reviews of health care news releases - reviews we hope to begin publishing on a newly redesigned website by April.
Adjunct Associate Professor
University of Minnesota School of Public Health
This project is now supported by a generous grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.