Confounding by indication case study 1: Induction of labor and cesarean delivery risk

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 by mahalie stackpole via Flickr

One of the biggest challenges in teasing out possible causation or directionality of an exposure and an observed phenomenon, it’s essential to consider confounding by indication. Although it’s described in the Medical Studies Core Topic Key Concepts page, it’s such an important consideration in both evaluating medical studies and in formulating questions for them that it deserves a special call-out — again and again and again.

So I’m writing three blog posts with mini case studies of confounding by indication because I REALLY want to drive home how important it is that reporters covering observational studies think hard about all the possible reasons a correlation might exist between an intervention or exposure and a subsequent intervention, medical condition or negative effect. Continue reading

Researchers asking tough questions about Medicare’s readmission reduction program

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Naoki Takano via Flickr

Researchers and health policy experts are questioning the value of Medicare’s efforts to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions.

The latest example came this week when Health Affairs published research on what happened after Medicare added hip and knee replacement surgeries to the list of conditions for which it would penalize hospitals for having high rates of readmissions.

Continue reading

Report tackles the risk of medication overload among 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.

Photo: tr0tt3r via Flickr

Experts on aging are sounding the alarm about another U.S. drug crisis: Too many older adults taking too many medications.

This trend is leading to a surge in adverse drug events (ADE) over the past two decades. The rate of emergency department visits by older adults for ADEs doubled between 2006 and 2014 — a problem as serious as the opioid crisis but whose scope appears to remain virtually invisible to families, patients, policymakers and many clinicians, according to a recent report by the Lown Institute, a nonprofit think tank in Brookline, Mass. Continue reading

Researchers identify new Alzheimer’s-like condition

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: Brain by Injurymap.

A recently recognized dementia that mimics many of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease, but actually is an entirely different form of brain deterioration, has been documented in a new research paper.

Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (also known as LATE) primarily affects adults 80 years and older and “has been associated with substantial cognitive impairment that mimicked Alzheimer’s disease,” said researchers of the paper, which appeared in the June edition of Brain: A Journal of Neurology. Continue reading

New data resource on NSQIP database can inform coverage of relevant 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.

More than 1,500 peer-reviewed studies have relied on a surgical database known as the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), or its pediatric counterpart, the NSQIP-P.

These databases, set up by the American College of Surgeons, offer extraordinarily granular information about clinical variables and outcomes (as well as demographic information) for a wide range of surgical procedures. Continue reading

AHCJ board members speak at World Conference of Science Journalists #WCSJ2019

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ board president Ivan Oransky, M.D., spoke on a panel about "Reporting on scientific fraud around the world" at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Len Bruzzese/AHCJAHCJ board president Ivan Oransky, M.D., spoke on a panel about “Reporting on scientific fraud around the world” at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Ivan Oransky, M.D., president of AHCJ’s board of directors, and Maryn McKenna, an AHCJ board member, were among the speakers at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Oransky, who is vice president, editorial at Medscape and Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, spoke about reporting on scientific fraud, something he regularly covers for Retraction Watch. Continue reading