The first AHCJ conference I ever attended was in 2011 in Philadelphia. I had only recently learned about the organization and knew very little about it. I’d signed up for a field trip, but I had brought my 8-month-old with me and was up late the night before, so overslept and missed it.
When I actually got to the conference (my aunt watched my son), I caught the second half of a Thursday workshop with Ivan Oransky, M.D., (now AHCJ’s president) and Gary Schwitzer of HealthNewsReview.org on how to understand and responsibly report on medical studies. It was the session I would eventually end up leading myself years later. Continue reading
Content note: This blog post mentions sexual assault.
I read (and write) nonfiction all day long, so most of my me-time pleasure reading is limited to fiction. I recently made an exception on a friend’s recommendation and listened to the audiobook of Roxane Gay’s “Hunger,” as read by the author (which was important and relevant given its content).
It was not an easy book to listen to, but I’m so glad that I did — both personally and for my work as a journalist. I think it’s a book every health journalist ought to consider reading if they are able. (My reason for saying “if they are able” will become apparent shortly.) Continue reading
We’ve covered in another blog post what to be cautious about in scrutinizing an observational study that uses data from a massive database or dataset. And we’ve introduced a new section in the Data section of the Medical Studies Core Topic that describes characteristics and considerations of several large datasets that researchers may frequently use for such studies.
But sometimes you want to get really granular on deconstructing a study. Continue reading
Most reporting on medical research relies on peer-reviewed studies published in medical journals. But independent corporations, nonprofits, advocacy organizations and other institutions conduct their own research. Moreover, they seek media coverage of their findings, usually (albeit not always) to serve their objectives and interests.
One such organization is a think tank, an organization ostensibly aimed at objectively researching and analyzing a particular issue and policy solutions to that issue – but, more often, influenced by an ideological bias that drives their findings. Continue reading
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
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