Our local NPR station carries a program called Sound Medicine, produced by Indiana University School of Medicine. This program is available online and by podcast and always covers a wide variety of stories. This past weekend I heard a thought provoking piece on medical reporting. The entire interview can be heard at
It is an interview with Gary Schwitzer, University of Minneapolis health journalism program. He talks about flaws in how journalists who cover medical news and explains why these "breakthrough discovery" stories than get us so excited, more times than not are not accurate but merely sensationalized headlines.
His premise is medical journals only print positive stories and omit stories of failure. Medical journalists rely on those journals for their stories. Budget constraints on reporters limits their ability to travel and thoroughly investigate these stories and take the intial journal reports at face value. He contends there is a bias in medical reporting because of these factors. Very interesting story and if you take the 10 minutes to listen, I hope you will let me know what you think.
UM also has a website that rates medical news stories - a full listing and explanation of the criteria they use is listed on their site -
Knowledge is power,