Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJTara Haelle organized and moderated a panel about how to interpret medical research.
PHOENIX — Think about medical studies: One can conclude a certain thing and another one will say the opposite. They can be scary and confusing.
“Just because something is statistically significant, doesn’t mean it’s clinically significant,” F. Perry Wilson, M.D., M.S.C.E., assistant professor of medicine at Yale University, told about 50 people at a conference. Continue reading
The ongoing push for open science and greater transparency in medical research just notched another win following new rules from the National Institutes of Health regarding federally funded research involving humans. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, the NIH is broadening the definition of clinical trials for what must be registered and reported at ClinicalTrials.gov.
“Researchers must now report their findings on the site within a year of study completion or risk losing future funding,” wrote reporters Daniela Hernandez and Amy Dockser Marcus. Continue reading
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Though it is good news the paper was retracted, the bad news is that such studies continue to be published, and fuel ongoing arguments within the anti-vaccine community that researchers are covering up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
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
Ah, the precision of numbers! For editors and journalists alike, the right number can slam a story into high gear, giving it a clear message: this is why you should care.
Reporting the numbers gives a story its footing, and for a good reason. As the queen of the sciences, mathematics pulls the abstract down to the ground, where it can be applied to everyday life. That can include the optimal number of calories we should eat each day, the most effective dose of melatonin that guarantees a good night’s sleep or the time it takes measles to spread among a community with non-immunized children and adults. Math is the language of science, and so without numbers, science would be flimsy, inapplicable. We wouldn’t know the rules or when it’s appropriate to break or bend them. Continue reading