Note to our followers: Our nearly 13-year run of daily publication of new content on came to a close at the end of 2018. Publisher Gary Schwitzer and other contributors may post new articles periodically. But all of the 6,000+ articles we have published contain lessons to help you improve your critical thinking about health care interventions. And those will be still be alive on the site for a couple of years.
December 20, 2018 | News Release Review

Implantable device ‘aids weight loss’? Let’s wait for the evidence

This news release speculates that a study in rats shows a new weight loss implant is superior to existing weight loss devices used in humans. That’s jumping ahead of the evidence.

2 Star

Tiny implantable device short-circuits hunger pangs, aids weight loss

December 19, 2018 | Story Review

Guardian jumps to conclusions about an Alzheimer’s study that hasn’t even begun

The story’s headline states: “Virtual reality to help detect early risk of Alzheimer’s.” That is misleading. The researchers haven’t even recruited study participants yet, much less conducted the study or analyzed the results.

1 Star

Virtual reality to help detect early risk of Alzheimer’s

December 18, 2018 | Story Review

In story on experimental contraceptive gel, Reuters lets drug company control the narrative

This leaves both investors and lay audiences without enough information to evaluate how useful the new product will be, should it pass muster with the FDA.

3 Star

Evofem's birth control gel meets main study goal; shares rise

December 18, 2018 | News Release Review

Summary of CRISPR lung cancer research downplays the work that lies ahead

This release needed a strong caution that observations made in tissue samples and mice don’t always translate to human outcomes.

3 Star

Scientists report CRISPR restores effectiveness of lung cancer treatment

December 17, 2018 | Story Review

Using a single patient anecdote, ABC News hails DNA fertility test as ‘breakthrough’

Breakthrough? Based on the story of one patient?  We’re told the procedure hasn’t been done often. But how often, and what happened to the other women?

2 Star

How a breakthrough new fertility test is offering hope for families who have suffered miscarriages

December 17, 2018 | News Release Review

‘Millions’ with bipolar disorder could be helped by probiotics? Release pushes pure speculation

While probiotics have been a popular focus of research in recent years, the claim that they could help millions with bipolar disease is unwarranted.

1 Star

Probiotics could help millions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder

December 14, 2018 | News Release Review

Summary of dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet study leaves us hungry for details

The release claims the diet “significantly improved blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, mood and cognitive function” but doesn’t provide any numbers to allow readers to gauge the size of improvement.

1 Star

Yes Please to Yogurt and Cheese: The New Improved Mediterranean Diet

December 13, 2018 | News Release Review

Johns Hopkins prematurely heralds a ‘promising diagnostic tool’ for Alzheimer’s

This news release did a good job of explaining how the study was done but didn’t provide data on benefits, costs, or harms.

3 Star

Johns Hopkins team identifies promising diagnostic tool for Alzheimer's disease


Tips & Resources for Analyzing Health Care Claims

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Story Reviews

Our team of reviewers applies 10 standardized criteria to news stories that include claims about health care interventions. ~2,000 reviews published.

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News Release Reviews

We systematically evaluate the quality of health care-related news releases by journals, medical centers, drug/device makers, others.

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Wide-ranging exploration of issues in journalism, journal publishing, health care PR, advertising and marketing. Some opinions - publisher Gary Schwitzer's & others'.

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