Tag Archives: language

Highlights from AHCJ’s recent webcast about reporting on addiction, recovery

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Image: National Council for Behavioral HealthTom Hill described a so-called “three-legged stool” approach to addiction treatment and recovery during an August webcast sponsored by AHCJ.

Last week’s AHCJ webinar about responsible, accurate reporting on addiction and recovery issues pointed out the importance of sensitive, accurate coverage of the issue and ways in which journalists can improve their coverage.

AHCJ members who missed the live webcast can still watch the Aug. 24 presentation by speaker Tom Hill, M.S.W., vice president of addiction and recovery at the National Council for Behavioral Health. Continue reading

How the language we use to communicate about disease matters

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Gerald Streiter via Flickr

Photo: Gerald Streiter via Flickr

Does language make a difference when we address serious health issues such as Alzheimer’s and other diseases? Absolutely, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Avoid the “war” metaphors, advises Daniel R. George, an assistant professor of medical humanities at the college. While such terminology is common in the medical community and the media, such language can backfire by creating fear and stigma, turning patients into victims and even diverting resources from preventive care. Continue reading

How one writer looked inward to reassess pronouns and gender

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Jennyrotten via Flickr

Photo: Jennyrotten via Flickr

I have yet to find a writer who hasn’t looked back on a story and found something that they could have done better – or worse: something wrong. Sometimes readers or critics do that for you.

For Christine Grimaldi, feedback after what should have been a routine piece for Slate led the Washington, D.C.-based freelancer’s eyes to question assumptions she had made about gender, sexuality and pronouns. Her mistakes led to what she called “one of the worst days of my professional career.” But she managed to turn it around into a primer for other journalists. Continue reading

How we talk about cancer: Insights on language for journalists

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: National Cancer Institute

Photo: National Cancer Institute

The public radio show “On the Media” recently devoted its entire hour to an insightful and poignant episode on cancer and how we talk about it, simply and appropriately named “The Cancer Show.”

It actually first aired in March as the first of a two-part series (part two is here), but I missed it, so I’m grateful for the October rerun.

Unlike most episodes, this one did not focus on a particular recent story or even on several recent stories in the news. Rather, producers took a big picture approach that every journalist who might ever write about cancer should listen to. Continue reading

More evidence links speaking multiple languages to better cognitive function in older adults

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Image by Tobias Mikkelsen via flickr.

Image by Tobias Mikkelsen via flickr.

A study published in the Annals of Neurology indicates that cognitive decline may slow down when people speak two or more languages — even if they learned their second language in adulthood.

While it’s been known for some time that speaking more than one language benefits cognitive function, across the lifespan, scientists could not conclusively determine whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual.

“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said lead author Dr. Thomas Bak, of the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, in a statement. Continue reading