Tag Archives: Studies

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Though it is good news the paper was retracted, the bad news is that such studies continue to be published, and fuel ongoing arguments within the anti-vaccine community that researchers are covering up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

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

Nuance – rather than just numbers – helps tell the full story

Laura Laing

About Laura Laing

Laura Laing is a freelance journalist and essayist, as well as the author of three books: "Math for Grownups," "Math for Writers," and "Your Daily Math." A student in Goucher College’s MFA program in creative nonfiction, she is currently writing a non-traditional memoir with mathematical themes.

Photo: Anssi Koskinen via Flickr

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

Search for fountain of youth drives testosterone replacement industry

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo: Maxwell GS via Flickr

You know those ads on late-night radio or in the back of some magazines for testosterone replacement therapy? Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for older men that’s no real path to a male fountain of youth.

Like it or not, low testosterone is a normal part of aging and “fixing” it can be risky. Despite some news reports on the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, several recent studies show that the harms may outweigh benefits. Continue reading

Study: Newspaper coverage rarely reflects medical evidence over time

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: Binuri Ranasinghe via Flickr

Journalists are in love with reporting new findings about a disease and a particular risk factor, but they are not so keen on following what happens later and reporting on whether the finding was replicated – and just over half the time is later disproved.

This comes from a recent study in PLOS ONE by authors who previously found that journalists tend to favor initial findings over subsequent findings on the same outcome. Continue reading