Category Archives: Covering medical studies

New data section offers statistics and info on disability in America

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.

What do depression, diabetes, dyslexia, prosthetics, hearing loss, obesity and heart disease all have in common? All are considered disabilities or associated with increased risk of disability. About a quarter of American adults have some type of disability, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including two in five adults over age 65 have a disability.

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Confounding by indication case study 3: Tylenol, antibiotics and asthma risk 

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: Pewari via Flickr

I’ve discussed in previous blog posts ways in which confounding by indication can completely change the way observational research is interpreted: it can flip common wisdom about labor induction and cesarean delivery risk on its head, and it can lead to bizarre conversations illustrating a researchers’ blind spots when it comes to discussing topics like depression and hormonal birth control. Continue reading

Confounding by indication case study 2: Hormonal contraception and risk of depression

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: Jess Hamilton via Flickr

I wrote in a previous blog about the importance of understanding confounding by indication and being sure to ask researchers about it when covering observational studies that appear to suggest a particular treatment or intervention might contribute to a specific effect. I’m passionate about this type of study bias because not considering it — which happens a LOT — can lead people to decline otherwise helpful treatments or leave them experiencing more harm and pain because of unfounded fears. Continue reading

Confounding by indication case study 1: Induction of labor and cesarean delivery risk

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 by mahalie stackpole via Flickr

One of the biggest challenges in teasing out possible causation or directionality of an exposure and an observed phenomenon, it’s essential to consider confounding by indication. Although it’s described in the Medical Studies Core Topic Key Concepts page, it’s such an important consideration in both evaluating medical studies and in formulating questions for them that it deserves a special call-out — again and again and again.

So I’m writing three blog posts with mini case studies of confounding by indication because I REALLY want to drive home how important it is that reporters covering observational studies think hard about all the possible reasons a correlation might exist between an intervention or exposure and a subsequent intervention, medical condition or negative effect. Continue reading

New data resource on NSQIP database can inform coverage of relevant medical studies

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.

More than 1,500 peer-reviewed studies have relied on a surgical database known as the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), or its pediatric counterpart, the NSQIP-P.

These databases, set up by the American College of Surgeons, offer extraordinarily granular information about clinical variables and outcomes (as well as demographic information) for a wide range of surgical procedures. Continue reading

AHCJ board members speak at World Conference of Science Journalists #WCSJ2019

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ board president Ivan Oransky, M.D., spoke on a panel about "Reporting on scientific fraud around the world" at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Len Bruzzese/AHCJAHCJ board president Ivan Oransky, M.D., spoke on a panel about “Reporting on scientific fraud around the world” at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Ivan Oransky, M.D., president of AHCJ’s board of directors, and Maryn McKenna, an AHCJ board member, were among the speakers at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Oransky, who is vice president, editorial at Medscape and Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, spoke about reporting on scientific fraud, something he regularly covers for Retraction Watch. Continue reading