Tag Archives: medical studies

More interactivity, tips for veterans and newcomers in #AHCJ15 medical research workshop

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.

Ivan Oransky, M.D.

One of the most popular and longest-running workshop sessions will return to AHCJ’s annual conference in Silicon Valley with an updated presentation that will benefit research reporting veterans as well as those new to – and possibly intimidated by – reporting on medical studies.

In Thursday morning’s session, “How to accurately report on medical research findings,” presenters Ivan Oransky, M.D., vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today and co-founder of Retraction Watch, and Gary Schwitzer, publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, will offer a boot camp on medical study coverage. Instruction will range from evaluating the quality of study findings and discussing benefits and harms to responsibly framing findings in news articles and finding appropriate outside commentary on tight deadlines.

Gary Schwitzer

Gary Schwitzer

“There are never enough opportunities to be trained in or to get a refresher course in how to evaluate studies and evidence,” said Schwitzer, now in his ninth year of presenting this type of workshop at the conference. “I can almost guarantee you’ll get some new, practical, hands-on tools, tips and resources to help you do a better job reporting studies – and some healthy skepticism,” he said. Continue reading

Learning to find – and navigate – the wealth of data online

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.

Robert Logan, Ph.D.

Robert Logan, Ph.D.

The abundance of data available through PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov and other National Library of Medicine resources can be overwhelming, especially if you are just learning to dig into medical studies.

But if you stick around for Sunday morning’s sessions at Health Journalism 2015 in Silicon Valley, you can join Robert Logan, Ph.D., a communication scientist at the National Library of Medicine, and Ivan Oransky, M.D., vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today and co-founder of Retraction Watch, as they guide you through these sites and show you how to find and use the information you need for your story – or even to find stories.

Ivan Oransky, M.D.

In an interactive session – bring your laptop! – Logan will show you where to find health and medical information on MedlinePlus.gov, PubMed, PubMed Health and ClinicalTrials.gov.

“MedlinePlus.gov is a gateway to all NLM websites and it is written for patients, the public, and the press,” Logan explained. “Once comfortable with MedlinePlus.gov, health reporters also gain curated access to many of National Library of Medicine’s health information services that are used by medical professionals and scientists.” Then Oransky, who is vice president of AHCJ’s board of directors, will show you how to use what you find in your reporting.

Even if you have attended this Sunday morning session before, Logan and Oransky have updated the presentation to help you take advantage of new features in these sites. “For example, PubMed Health, a rich resource of systematic reviews, has been redesigned and is easier to use,” Logan said. “PubMed Commons is expanding and increasingly provides a place to find critics of (and sources about) current medical research studies.”

Another new feature includes commenting from approved researchers on the PubMed site. “Members will learn how to tap into active conversations among researchers about one another’s work,” Oransky said. “We’ll make finding context, and the right outside sources, super-easy.”

Online registration for the conference ends at noon CT on Wednesday, April 8. The conference hotel’s rooms are sold out, but the AHCJ conference website provides information on nearby hotel options.

Tara Haelle takes over AHCJ’s medical studies core topic area

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.

Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle, an independent journalist based in Peoria, Ill., and regular contributor to Forbes and HealthDay, is AHCJ’s newest core topic leader.

She will help guide journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enable them to translate the evidence into accurate information that their readers can grasp.

Haelle is a freelance journalist and multimedia photographer who has particularly focused on medical studies over the past five years.

She particularly specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatrics, maternal health, obesity, nutrition and mental health. Continue reading

Drug company takes a stand in fight for clinical trial transparency

Brenda Goodman

About Brenda Goodman

Brenda Goodman (@GoodmanBrenda), an Atlanta-based freelancer, is AHCJ’s topic leader on medical studies, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on medical study resources and tip sheets at brenda@healthjournalism.org.

Making drug capsules in small volume for a clinical trial, for an unnamed pharmaceutical company.

Image by Esthr via flickr.

Efforts to increase the transparency and accessibility of clinical trial data kicked into a higher gear last week.

Some of the major stakeholders in these efforts emerged wearing white hats, while others had more shadowy motives revealed.

First, the good news: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced, in the New England Journal of Medicine, that it has begun to release de-identified patient-level data from its clinical trials.

So far, 200 studies have been added to a new website, with another 200 coming by year’s end, according to the report. And there will be further updates beyond that.

To access the raw data, GSK is asking researchers to submit a proposal, which will also be published on the website. They’re also asking researchers who want access to their data to post summary results on the website and seek publication of their work, “in line with standard scientific practice.” Continue reading

Steak and eggs: Putting science, health news into context

Brenda Goodman

About Brenda Goodman

Brenda Goodman (@GoodmanBrenda), an Atlanta-based freelancer, is AHCJ’s topic leader on medical studies, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on medical study resources and tip sheets at brenda@healthjournalism.org.

Steak and eggs

Photo by avlxyz via Flickr

Is it just me, or do medical journals seem to have a knack for publishing conflicting findings on the same topic within the very same week?

That’s what happened earlier this month when the journal Nature Medicine published a fascinating paper that linked a chemical plentiful in red meat, l-carnitine, to the acceleration of atherosclerosis in mice. Researchers also found convincing evidence that when l-carnitine is converted into another chemical, called TMAO, by gut bacteria it may also be linked to heart disease in people. (For an engrossing account of these experiments and the science behind them, check out Gina Kolata’s story for The New York Times.)

A few days later, I ran across this headline: “L-Carnitine Significantly Improves Patient Outcomes Following Heart Attack.” C’mon now. Really? First l-carnitine is bad for the heart, now it’s beneficial? Continue reading

Reporter’s advice can help you get past sources’ jargon

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.

Kathleen Doheny

Kathleen Doheny

If you’ve interviewed anyone with an M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. or Sc.D. after his or her name, you know: It’s often no easy feat to get your sources to speak in everyday language.

You start off the interview asking a simple, straightforward question but get a reply that, should you actually use it verbatim, is bound to make your editor cry, at best.

Freelance journalist Kathleen Doheny has come up with some strategies to coax more usable language out of sources. Find out what the “java approach” is, ways to suggest to your source that they use more reader-friendly words and how to coach them through the interview.