Tag Archives: Studies

Have you earned your PubMed black belt?

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: Spirit-Fire via Flickr

Photo: Spirit-Fire via Flickr

It’s just about impossible to report on medical research without becoming intimately familiar with PubMed. But just because a reporter uses the database site doesn’t mean they’re getting the most out of it.

How often have you used a service, such as an email client or a social media site, for years when someone suddenly points out to you a shortcut or a feature you’ve never used and didn’t know existed? Chances are  that there’s at least one new skill you can pick up in Hilda Bastian’s tip sheet on using PubMed. Continue reading

How two U.S. health agencies are examining social determinants

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 susan@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to healthcare. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Photo: CDC/Emily WeyantTwo federal health agencies are tackling social issues related to health care. Results from other studies are available at the library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data is the new king of journalism, but when it comes to some aspects of the social sciences – such as the social determinants of health – the numbers can be a bit tricky to nail down.

That may be changing. The U.S. Department of Health recently announced two separate initiatives targeting health disparities.

First, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this month announced a pilot program to tie medical services for beneficiaries to housing, food, transportation and other social services. Continue reading

Retraction Watch offers some transparency about transparency

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: katie chao and ben muessig via Flickr

Photo: katie chao and ben muessig via Flickr

In the years since its inception, Retraction Watch has documented hundreds of troubled scientific papers that were eventually retracted, as well as other related controversies. Founders Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus have learned a lot in that time about following up on retractions, errors or other problematic aspects of scientific research.

Two years ago, they thought they had come up with some good advice for others who wanted to investigate concerns about a particular paper and published a piece on how to report alleged scientific misconduct in Lab Times. Continue reading

Are we nearing the end of traditional medical journal articles?

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 Eye Institute via Flickr

Photo: National Eye Institute via Flickr

Lots of challenges have faced medical publishing as the Internet has evolved. From predatory journals to the rise of open access journals to the simple fact that the stacks and stacks of physical paper journals are depleting, removing a long-time key funding source.

In one recent article – ironically enough in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes – Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., describes nine “deficiencies in the current model that fuel the sense that journals as we have known them are approaching their final act.” Continue reading

Seeking out the ‘negative’ could turn up story ideas

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.

rama

Photo: Rama via Wikimedia Commons

A common type of bias that plagues medical research across all journals is publication bias: studies that find positive results are considered more interesting and therefore more likely to be published.

Positive findings about drugs in particular tend have a higher chance of ending up in a journal than those that didn’t – especially among industry-funded studies – but publication bias tends to appear across the board.

That’s what makes the open-access Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine so interesting, and helpful for journalists. The most common word you’ll find in the titles of these studies is “not.” Continue reading