Tag Archives: evidence

While genetic tests proliferate, journalists cite the lack of scientific evidence

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: Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr

Photo: Caroline Davis2010 via Flickr

The potential benefits of genetic testing are widely touted and drive greater interest in these tests – even though the validity of the science behind such testing remains unclear.

Charles Piller, the West Coast editor for Boston-based online news site Stat, recently reported on the lack of a firm scientific basis for a test that Proove Biosciences in Irvine, Calif., has been marketing as an “opioid risk” detector. Continue reading

Deadline coming up to apply for fellowship to learn about medical evidence

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.

CER400For the AHCJ Fellowship on Comparative Effectiveness Research, a select group of fellows will be chosen to spend a week in Washington, D.C., focused on understanding and reporting on medical research.

Joe Carlson, one of last year’s fellows, said the fellowship was, “Educational and practical – you don’t always get that. This was well worth my time.”

Applications are due no later than Monday, Aug. 1. Sessions will help fellows: Continue reading

Flaws, limits and conflicts: Tips to find study pitfalls #AHCJ16

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.

At Health Journalism 2016 in Cleveland, Andrew M. Seaman and Hilda Bastian discussed shortcuts for weighing the likelihood a study’s answer is right, making sense of shifting bodies of evidence and cutting through researcher spin. Continue reading

Making the most of medical research sessions at #AHCJ16

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.

road-to-cleveland-2Each year, the AHCJ conference includes a smorgasbord of opportunities to inform and enhance journalists’ knowledge and reporting. Topics include health care disparities, hospital performance reporting, age-specific conditions for youth and elderly alike – and, of course, what the medical research reveals about these and other subjects.

Even in sessions that focus on a specific population or a condition that doesn’t immediately seem relevant to medical research – such as how to cover the ongoing opioid epidemic – there likely are ways that the material intersects with research on that topic. If you’re looking for stories that might involve some digging in PubMed, here are some sessions to consider during Health Journalism 2016 in Cleveland, April 7-10. Continue reading

Time takes a critical look at breast cancer treatment

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 Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

Photo: Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images

Siobhan O’Connor recently explored in a Time magazine piece an issue that has been gaining traction in both the medical world and the media reporting on it: the overtreatment of breast cancer.

Her story, “Why Doctors Are Rethinking Breast-Cancer Treatment,” opens with an anecdote from now-60-year-old Desiree Basila, who several years ago decided to do … nothing after receiving a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a stage 0 cancer in the breast ducts that was not invasive – and may never become so. What makes this opening anecdote striking was not simply Basila’s decision – one that has been discussed more often in recent years – but when it occurred: Continue reading

Context, context, context: How journalists can avoid confusing readers with the latest research findings

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.

Whatiguana via Wikimedia Commons

Whatiguana via Wikimedia Commons

A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association explored the responsibility that journals have to public health in reporting on the association – or lack thereof – between adverse events and different drugs, devices or vaccines.

Reporting on these kinds of studies is a mainstay for most regular health beat reporters: Every week a new study says that this drug may increase the risk of that condition, or that this device is no longer thought to increase the risk of some other condition.

While the editorial points out the journal’s responsibility in publishing these studies, so that doctors can discuss risks of treatment possibilities with their patients, what is a journalist’s responsibility on reporting these findings? And how do journalists avoid fatigue – and help their readers avoid fatigue – with findings that regularly contradict each other (eggs and heart disease, anyone?) or that have been reported dozens of times already but never go away (e.g., vaccines not causing autism)? Continue reading