The U's most active blog is shutting down

Since September 2004 this has been my home for blogging about health journalism, health care, health policy, health care advertising and marketing, etc.

Now it's time to shut it down. I've moved my blogging activities to http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/, which I encourage all of you to bookmark.

I retire this blog after seeing it become the most active blog (most entries) out of 8,395 on the University's U Think Blog network. (A password protected job posting site is technically listed as #1 above mine, but that doesn't fit anyone's definition of a blog.)

1,580 entries.

It's been a lot of fun and I think it's served a purpose. But the fun and the purpose continue on the new blog, so please add it to your list of places to visit daily.

Thanks for your continued interest.

Cancer center ads that play on fear and emotion

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Natasha Singer of the New York Times has an important story on cancer center advertising, including embedding actual radio, TV and print ads in the online version of the article.

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2009/12/nyt-story-examines-criticism-of-cancer-center-ads.html

Wisdom of the crowds commenting on troubled health news stories

Yesterday we commented on a hospital chaplain/blogger who critiqued a troublesome health news story.

Today we bring you the comment of a reader (who happens to have had back pain for a long time) who questions the balance and integrity of a New Jersey news website story that wrote about cutbacks in payments for medical imaging.

See it at:
http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2009/12/reader-questions-balance-integrity-of-nj-web-story-on-medical-imaging-cutbacks.html

Clergyman-blogger unleashes criticism of CNN for disease-mongering story

I love it when I see smart people blogging their critiques of health care news coverage. So I say "Hallelujah" in response to a hospital-chaplain-blogger's rant about a news story run by CNN and Health.com that made his skin crawl.

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2009/12/hospital-chaplain-blogger-criticizes-cnn-menopause-disease-mongering.html

I've seen a lot of awful news coverage on breast cancer screening in the past month or so, but the award (so far) for the worst, most useless, misinformation goes to the CBS Early Show.

See why.

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2009/12/cbs-early-shows-confusing-breast-screening-info.html

Time to "tone down the sky is falling" on H1N1?

Physician-bioethicist Jeffrey Hall Dobken suggests that "perhaps we can tone down the sky-is-falling just a bit" on H1N1. And he includes news coverage in his review of the "tension...reinforced by the endless health warnings."

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2009/12/bioethicist-worries-about-crying-wolf-over-h1n1.html

Understanding the USPSTF breast screening guidelines

The National Breast Cancer Coalition is offering an online webcast tomorrow to clear up confusion on the recent USPSTF breast cancer screening recommendations.

They ask that interested parties register today.

The webcast is Thursday, December 17 at 3 pm Eastern time.

Local TV news' love affair with scanning and screening

Health/medical journalism? Or plagiarism?

In the past two weeks, I've discovered three examples of health/medical stories apparently being lifted directly from news releases.

One on WebMD and two on HealthDay - here and here.

This isn't journalism.

In fact, in some of these cases, the stories are worse than the original news release!

Warm, touching, but inadequate story of a pro football player's daughter and her path to a heart transplant.

The story claims that a heart pump saved the girl's life - when that can't be proven. It also didn't discuss costs, didn't discuss evidence, didn't discuss some of the known problems with the heart pump - follow the link to see what it did and didn't do.


CNN anchor endorses screening all 6th graders as "worth it"

Amazing.

Do they plan this editorializing in editorial meetings as a way to compete with/resemble Fox News?

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2009/12/cnn-fear-mongering-screening-advocacy-on-kids-hearts-tests.html

Tamiflu troubles

As British physician-writer Ben Goldacre put it:

"Tamiflu is pretty marginal as a treatment, and crap as prophylaxis: as we basically already knew."

The Star Tribune, which has done a fine job reporting on University of Minnesota medical school conflict of interest issues, bombed on a story about problems with the FDA's medical device approval process - largely because it failed to counter the clear conflict of interest in the single source it used! Inexplicable.

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