Writing about vaccine hesitancy? There’s a study for that

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: Global Panorama via Flickr

Vaccines and vaccine hesitancy has been my primary micro-beat since I began working as a full-time health/science journalist, so it’s been interesting to watch how coverage of the topic has evolved over the past decade.

For far too long, false balance was the biggest problem plaguing media coverage of vaccination, a trend that only slowly began fading after The Lancet retracted Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent study. Continue reading

Reporters take deep dives into electronic health records and find rich stories

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

After a five-month hiatus as Health IT topic leader for AHCJ, I’m happy to be back.

My absence was bookended by two must-read articles on the promise, limitations and hidden dangers of electronic health records (EHRs). Continue reading

An aspirin a day for your heart? Maybe not

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: Curtis Perry via Flickr

New guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say healthy adults without known heart disease should no longer take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack. It could actually do more harm than good.

The revised guidelines come in the wake of several major studies published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that low-dose aspirin did not extend life in otherwise healthy older adults and any preventive benefits were offset by the danger of internal bleeding and other side effects in people considered to be at low or moderate risk for heart disease. Continue reading

Michigan joins ranks of states allowing use of dental therapists

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: ktpupp via Flickr

Michigan has become the latest state to approve the use of mid-level dental providers — dental therapists — as part of an effort to expand oral health care to communities that have long lacked it.

Outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation authorizing the new provider model in late December.

In a statement, Snyder said that dental therapists would serve as “a unique tool to target the currently underserved populations in our state.” Continue reading

Medical marijuana’s popularity growing among seniors

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: Dank Depot via Flickr

There are plenty of stories about older adults increasingly turning to medical marijuana to combat various ailments — from pain relief to Parkinson’s disease. A recent preliminary retrospective study found that it may be a safe and effective alternative to opioids.

Researchers from the Dent Neurological Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., found that more than two-thirds of study participants experienced at least some relief from pain. However, only one-third of them also reduced their use of opioids. Continue reading

Are we facing a crisis in the direct care workforce?

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: Anne Worner via Flickr

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a rash of headlines about workforce shortages in home health care and nursing homes. As we all know by now, the population is aging and studies show most seniors want to age in place.

Realistically, many of them need, or will need, some extra help to do so. And those who can’t live out their lives at home will likely wind up in a nursing home.  Time Magazine asked “Who will care for the Baby Boomers?” and called the situation “a growing American crisis. “ Continue reading