Category Archives: Covering medical studies

Webcast: Understanding the path to a COVID-19 vaccine

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

The race to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is picking up speed with early promising results from initial studies, and President Trump predicting there will be “hundreds of millions of doses” of vaccine by the end of 2020.

Journalists have reported on these early results, as well as Trump’s comments, which may leave the public with a misunderstanding about the process of vaccine development. Continue reading

Does the study you are covering look at quality of life?

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: Steven Damron via Flickr

In reviewing an email of recently published articles at JAMA Surgery, I was pleased to see two pieces in particular. The first was a systematic review of quality-of-life outcomes in surgical versus non-surgical treatment for breast cancer. The other was a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial for appendicitis that looked at quality of life and patient satisfaction seven years after patients received either antibiotic therapy or an appendectomy.

I was glad to see these because the entire focus of both studies is on quality of life, an outcome neglected for far too long in medical research. More studies are focusing on quality of life, but still not enough. In fact, I would argue that every single study done on interventions for a medical issue should include at least some sort of secondary endpoint related to quality of life that is separate from cataloging adverse events. Continue reading

Study to investigate adolescent mental health during the pandemic

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.

CovidTeenMental_Blog

Photo: Mary Lock via Flickr

Much advice has appeared in the media over the past two months about how to manage anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

Plenty of speculation, particularly on social media, has accompanied it: Will suicide rates increase? Will adolescent suicide rates decline with increased supervision? Will prescriptions for antidepressants rise? Will this trend revolutionize telemedicine in mental health? Continue reading

How COVID-19 may affect death rates not from the coronavirus

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.

NonCovidDeaths_Blog

Photo: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

As many hospitals have struggled with a deluge of COVID-19 patients, which at times has prompted patients with other severe conditions to avoid hospitals if they feel they can, there’s a fear that non-COVID deaths will increase during the pandemic. A recent paper in BMJ looks at what the data so far suggests while noting we don’t know enough yet to draw conclusions. Continue reading

How a silly Facebook riddle can help you think more critically about medical studies

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.

AnimalsFBprob

Photo: samuelrodgers752 via Flickr

At a certain point, you think you’ve seen all of those maddening, intentionally misleading Facebook math riddles. The first one I recall led to an unfriending on Facebook — and my first article for Slate. It discussed the history of “order of operations” and the ambiguities of math “language” (and amusingly led to just as much debate in the comments as on Facebook). Continue reading

RSS service streamlines access to COVID-19 preprints

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.

It can be hard enough to keep up with the peer-reviewed research flooding out of journals related to COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus. Monitoring the possibly larger flood of preprints — scientific papers made available before publication in a peer-reviewed journal — is even tougher, especially since they aren’t indexed in PubMed. Continue reading