Reporters curious about the financial relationship between physicians and pharmaceutical companies can use publicly available data as a starting point – although that comes with some caveats, journalists and industry leaders say.
During the workshop “Covering prescription drug data,” Charles Ornstein, ProPublica senior reporter, pointed out resources that ProPublica has created that reporters can use to write stories about doctors in their communities. Continue reading
Barry Bonds may be the best in history at hitting a baseball* (I’ll put an asterisk on that for the haters), but that doesn’t mean he is better than you at, say, hitting a softball. Just ask U.S. Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch, who struck him out.
Elite athletes have spent thousands of hours perfecting a skill. For Bonds, it was reading hardball pitches, not softball pitches. Continue reading
Photo by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory via Flickr
With falling costs of genetic screening, research into the body’s microbial community has grown tremendously, offering new insights into what constitutes a healthy population of “bugs” and how these organisms are involved in disease, according to a panel discussion on Friday at Health Journalism 2014.
Bacteria account for about three pounds, on average, of our body weight – about the same size as the brain – and communities in various organ systems differ vastly, according to panelist Rob Knight, Ph.D., of the University of Colorado.
Knight’s lab develops technology that helps researchers turn data on these microbes into visual information – it’s been used for the Human Microbiome Project – and one representation shows just how divergent populations can be from one body part to the next. Continue reading
Photo by Phil Galewitz
Legalizing marijuana in Colorado has been a boon not just to people who want to use marijuana recreationally, but also to medical researchers who want to study its effects.
The state public health department wants to channel tax revenues from marijuana sales into human research trials — permitted by the new law — and plans to ask the state legislature for authority to spend $10 million on these studies. Continue reading
Photo by Len Bruzzese
Louis Sullivan, M.D., recounted his decades of service to medicine to attendees of Health Journalism 2014 on Thursday at the Grand Hyatt in Denver.
In a conversation with Andrew Holtz, Sullivan touched on his experience as the only African American student in his Boston University School of Medicine class in the 1950s, the founding dean and president of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under President George H. W. Bush.
“Racism is really such a complex thing,” he said. “There’s no easy way to define it,” Sullivan told Holtz when asked about the doctor’s upbringing in the segregated south.
“I think we’re a much better country now than we were 30 to 40 years ago,” he added. Continue reading
Photo by Katie McCrimmonLiz Szabo meets with journalists at Health Journalism 2014.
Overheard at “The Art of the Tweet:” Pull out a sexy quote to write a good tweet like: “#Ambien replaces #roofies as new date rape drug.”
“I’d read that,” said Liz Szabo, medical writer for USA Today (@LizSzabo) and an early adopter who shared her favorite tips for using Twitter during a Thursday afternoon session at Health Journalism 2014 in Denver (#ahcj14). Continue reading