I just returned from the Logan Science Journalism Fellowship program at Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., and I’m excited to share some of the things I learned while there. The program itself — which I highly encourage folks to apply to — is different from any other health or science journalism program I’m aware of because there’s pretty much no journalism involved at all. Instead, it’s basic science that journalism fellows do. Continue reading
It’s not difficult to understand why clinical trials are so incredibly expensive. There’s the recruitment of the participants and their compensation, the cost of the drugs themselves, the work that has to go into ensuring both participants and clinicians are appropriately blinded (at least in double-blinded trials), the many visits to monitor symptoms and improvement, the time spent crunching the data – the dollars add up fast.
It’s harder (at least for me) to grasp where all the money goes for basic science. It’s often just cells in a petri dish, along with the fancy (and very expensive) microscope and computer equipment needed to examine them. Continue reading
Every journalist covering medical and other types of scientific research should read this thought-provoking open-access article recently published in PNAS: “Crisis or self-correction: Rethinking media narrative about the well-being of science.”
This piece by Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the best articles I’ve read about how to think about the big picture in our coverage of medicine and science and the public perception of media narratives about science. It’s one of those rare, important writings whose entire purpose is to examine the nuance that’s missing – yet essential – in the majority of science and medicine coverage. Continue reading
As a registered dietitian who has studied obesity prevention and treatment for more than three decades, I was intrigued by the Health Journalism 2016 session titled: “Science: Breaking Down Obesity.”
The panel featured endocrinologist, Bartolome Burguera, M.D., Ph.D., director of obesity programs at the Cleveland Clinic, and licensed clinical psychologist, Carolyn E. Ievers-Landis, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Abe Aboraya, health reporter with WMFE-Orlando, moderated. Continue reading
As the race toward the 2016 election gradually takes over more and more media coverage, Americans’ attention will be pulled toward the issues that dominate the election.
In some cases, unexpected issues will take center stage, if briefly, following a campaign trail speech or an organized debate. And sometimes, these issues will have a connection to medical research, so journalists need to be ready. Continue reading
Down crashed one of the great hopes of anti-aging medicine recently with the news that calorie restriction did not lift longevity in rhesus monkeys.
It was a surprising finding, as Sharon Begley of Reuters reported in an elegantly written, nicely balanced story.
In 2006, a separate study of starvation-level diets in close-but-you’re-not-quite-family primates had indicated that monkeys were less likely to get “heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases of aging” after abstaining from normal eating for 20 years.
As Begley notes:
“They also lived longer: By 2009, 80 percent of the free-eating Wisconsin monkeys had died of age-related illness, but only 50 percent of calorie-restricted monkeys had. Those findings, the scientists reported at the time, showed “that CR slows aging in a primate species.”
Also, earlier research had confirmed that lab rats, mice, yeast, fruit flies and round worms fed up to 40 percent less than normal lived 30 percent longer, and sometimes even more, Begley observes.
So, hopes were running high and negative findings from the new National Institute on Aging study were not expected.