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Latest Posts

Health News Consumers Tired Of Misinterpreted Studies

People aren’t dumb. Even if — or maybe especially if — news stories don’t point out the limitations of observational studies and the fact that they can’t establish cause-and-effect, many readers seem to get it.

Here are some of the online user comments in response to a story that is headlined, “Coffee may cut risk for some cancers“:

* “I love how an article starts with something positive and then slowly becomes a little gloomy. So is it good or not? I’m still where I was with coffee, it’s all in moderation, it ain’t gonna solve your health woes.”

* “The statistics book in a class I’m taking uses coffee as an example of statistics run amuck. It seems coffee has caused all the cancers and cures them at the same time.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

HIV, Stigma, And The Media

Last November, the National Football League devoted the entire month to breast cancer awareness. Players like Reggie Bush wore pink gloves, armbands, even shoes, to promote efforts to fight the disease.

There were some heartwarming moments. Players brought their mothers, grandmothers, and other women who’d battled breast cancer to the games, all of them wearing attractive pink game-day jerseys. Announcers told their own stories of “courageous” battles against the disease waged by friends and family members.

It’s powerful and inspiring, these overpaid hulks of manhood showing they’re secure enough in their masculinity to don feminine-ish garb to support their sisters and mothers.

But try to imagine the NFL — or any sports league — launching a similar campaign to fight HIV and AIDS. Which player would trot out a brother, sister, or father who’s HIV positive? Which television announcer would proudly point to the afflicted and speak of their “inspirational” battle with HIV?

In an NPR interview last week, Theresa Skipper talked about why she concealed her HIV diagnosis for 19 years: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Daily Monthly*

Haiti: What Will Happen When The Cameras Leave?

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Nine days after the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti, media attention is beginning to wane. What will happen next, when the cameras are off? Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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