Tag Archives: research

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

Be sure terminology about transgender-related studies is appropriate

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.

By Rumpusparable via Wikimedia Commons

More and more medical studies are focusing on research about transgender individuals: demographics, surgeries, insurance coverage, unique health needs, prevalence of mental health conditions, pregnancy, hormone therapy and any number of other issues and research questions related to transgender identity. That means journalists covering these studies need to be sure they are using appropriate terminology and not inadvertently reinforcing stereotypes or stigma. Continue reading

Using data to tell a story about fighting anti-vaccine misinformation

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.

In early October, the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry announced it planned to retract a study that had used altered data to conclude there was a link between aluminum adjuvants in vaccines and autism in mice, according to Retraction Watch.

Though it is good news the paper was retracted, the bad news is that such studies continue to be published, and fuel ongoing arguments within the anti-vaccine community that researchers are covering up evidence of links between autism and vaccines, says Timothy Caulfield, author of the new book The Vaccination Picture. Continue reading

Publication problems for Cornell nutrition researcher growing

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: Stefani via Flickr

We wrote back in March about the publication troubles of Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a media-friendly and prolific nutrition researcher and head of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.

Things were looking dicey then as more and more red flags, including mathematically impossible mistakes, piled up in his past studies. That parade only seems to be picking up based on recent news reports and retractions. It’s worth continuing to follow this story because it contains so many cautions for journalists covering medical research, especially fun and fascinating research that “feels” true from a charismatic, interview-friendly researcher. Continue reading

When is an interviewee’s sexual preference relevant to your story?

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.

Sensitivity in writing about research related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals means more than paying attention to language and potential stereotypes in your story.

It also means making decisions about what information is even necessary to disclose about those you interview, especially if you’re writing about research where a person’s sexual preference may not necessarily be as relevant as it first seems. Continue reading