How bad science news is made

Improving the public dialogue about health care

On our blog last week


Making bad science news: 

a news release about a talk to be given 4 months from now leads to many unfounded news stories claiming things such as 

"Binge-watching TV helps beat the blues."  

Our team of reviewers published these systematic, criteria-driven story reviews 


5 star reviews:  None


4 star reviews: 

3 star review: 

When one of the researchers in a study is the CEO of two companies making the supplement being tested, we expect to see an independent perspective - lacking in this Reuters Health piece on curcumin for inflammation in metabolic syndrome

2 star reviews:  

  • Our reviewers saw disease-mongering in a Wall Street Journal piece that gave a lot of ink to a device for "breathing for better health." Even reader comments showed some of the skepticism the story might have employed.  

1 star review: 


CNN asked, "Is proton therapy the magic bullet for cancer?" Our answer:  CNN didn't come anywhere close to giving its audience more than a limited understanding of the benefits, harms, and issues related to the application of this expensive radiation technology. 


Gary Schwitzer 
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.     


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