Tag Archives: evidence

Alcohol and longevity: Beware of evidence limitations

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: Eric Jusino via Flickr

Can drinking alcohol really help us live longer? According to a recently published study, the answer is … maybe.

You probably guessed that was coming.

Although moderate alcohol intake in older adults previously has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death, recent studies have suggested little, if any, health benefit in consuming alcohol, as The New York Times reported last year. Continue reading

Be skeptical of products and treatments for microbiome, experts say

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.

Journalists and health providers should be skeptical about products and treatments related to the microbiome because researchers are still in the early days of understanding how it works and its connection to health.

Three scientists – Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, director the Washington University Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Dr. Lita Proctor, the National Institutes of Health’s former Human Microbiome Project coordinator, and Dr. Anna Seekatz, Clemson University assistant professor of biological sciences – all emphasized to reporters that researchers are far from unlocking the key to the body’s community of microbes. Continue reading

Should you cover animal research? Check out these tips first

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.

Most journalists know — or quickly learn — that animal studies are problematic and usually best left uncovered if writing about general health and medical findings for a broad consumer audience. In fact, simply the way animals are bred and used in research can be problematic.

Aside from the controversy over use of animals in research and debates on the usefulness and relevance of that research, the fact remains that humans aren’t mice, or rats or horses or pigs or even chimpanzees. What happens in animals therefore cannot ever be directly translated to human anatomy and physiology. Continue reading

Australian physician-journalist offers pearls for health journalists

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.

Norman Swan

One of the best ways to become a better health journalist is to find out what the best in the biz are doing — and then make it your own. Great health journalism is happening all over the world, and, with his diverse, far-reaching résumé, pediatrician and broadcast journalist Norman Swan demonstrates the breadth of what journalists can accomplish.

As the longtime producer and presenter of the Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s Health Report, Swan is a bit like the antipodean version of the U.S.’s Sanjay Gupta. Continue reading

Good health reporters know how to size up medical evidence

Cynthia Craft

About Cynthia Craft

Cynthia Craft (@cynthiahcraft) is the director of engagement for AHCJ, joining the organization after an extensive career in daily journalism, including a decade on the health care beat. Craft most recently worked as a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee, having also worked for the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Times Herald and the California Journal.

Care to know more about what it takes to accurately weigh medical evidence? You’ve got just a couple of days to jump in to apply for AHCJ’s Comparative Effectiveness Research Fellowship – the deadline is Friday.

To get an idea of what you’ll walk away with by joining the select group of health journalists headed to Bethesda, Md., Oct. 7-11, read what former CER fellows said: Continue reading

Vox reporter describes deep dive into medical studies on back pain

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.

Two years ago Vox began a new feature section called Show Me the Evidence. In each piece, the reporter reviews several dozen recent studies on a specific question with the goal of summarizing the consensus of the evidence on that issue.

It’s important to provide context in any article about a single study or even a couple studies, but it’s not possible in daily journalism or even shorter features to dig deeply into all (or most of) the evidence on a specific topic and look at the big picture. Continue reading