Posts Tagged ‘health reporting’

Sizzling Headlines About Brain Damage

November 29, 2019 — The PR team at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) hit a home run this week. They were playing in the ongoing contest to create the most misinformative but sizzling headlines about scientific research. Their winning headline was doozy: MRI reveals brain damage in obese teens. Of course, that misleading press release was only […]

Stigma: The Power and Challenge of Words and Images

October 27, 2019 — Close to 500 science writers gathered at Penn State this weekend for a mix of professional development, scientific briefings, and networking. Within this group, two talented professionals from NIH, Judith Lavelle and Hillary Hoffman, deal with highly stigmatized health conditions every day – HIV, infectious diseases, and immune disorders. But they wanted to do more […]

Three Fixes for a Media Diet of Questionable Science

October 21, 2019 — Will leafy green vegetables prevent dementia? Or does living near heavy traffic cause it? Writing in JAMA, John Ioannidis describes a media diet of questionable science and minor issues. Meanwhile, more substantial health concerns get little attention. He also offers some constructive ideas for improving the the situation. 1. Focus on Bigger Issues Scientific articles […]

Big Baby Food: Hooked on Sugar, Salt, and Fat

October 19, 2019 — Big Baby Food is preying on young parents and their children. That’s the gist of a story in the Washington Post this week. But we wonder how helpful this scary story is for parents who merely want to nourish their infants and toddlers. Simple guidance would be great. Marketing hype and righteous fear mongering, less […]

Ten Tools for Exaggeration in Pediatric Obesity Studies

August 21, 2019 — Tall tales are not just for the literature of Mark Twain. In fact, you can find a few in childhood obesity. A new paper in Obesity Reviews offers an inventory of ten methods for exaggeration of effectiveness in childhood obesity studies. Andrew Brown and colleagues (including ConscienHealth’s Ted Kyle) provide examples of each. Checklists can […]

Pasteurized Bacteria for Metabolic Syndrome?

July 2, 2019 — Beware of pilot studies. However, we have a fascinating one for you. Nature Medicine published this study yesterday. It’s a randomized, controlled trial of 32 subjects in three arms. Clara Depommier and colleagues found that a daily supplement of pasteurized bacteria (Akkermansia muciniphila) could improve some of the markers of metabolic syndrome. Specifically, they saw […]

Fighting Obesity with Coffee and Headlines

June 28, 2019 — It’s all so simple. We can fight obesity with a single cup of coffee! It’s a “fat-burning, obesity-fighting beverage.” So say the headlines about a study of brown fat activation with caffeine. This new study in Scientific Reports, hyped by a press release from the University of Nottingham, has unleashed a flood of sensational headlines […]

Weight Bias: When Prejudice Stops Progress

April 11, 2019 — “I am ashamed to work in a healthcare profession that treats people in such a manner,” says Rachel Batterham. Batterham is a brilliant researcher and professor of obesity, diabetes, and endocrinology. But on Wednesday at the fourth World Congress on Interventional Therapies for Type 2 Diabetes, she reached outside of her comfort zone to talk […]

A Yo-Yo Diet of Misinformation About Eggs

March 16, 2019 — Really? We’re going to do this again? In JAMA, a new pooled analysis of six observational studies found an association between eating more eggs and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death. This finding comes just four years after scientific experts reached a consensus that “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” […]

How Hard Can It Be? Write It When You Bite It

February 25, 2019 — “Is the most effective weight-loss strategy really that hard?” Shucks, no, says the University of Vermont in a press release on a new study in Obesity. All it takes is just 15 minutes per day. “Write it when you bite it.” “Would-be weight-losers can’t muster the willpower to do it,” says this sunny bulletin. Suddenly, […]