Medical news reporting

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Medical news reporting

Post by Pyrrho » ... -dementia/
After 12 years in which we’ve published more than 2,500 news story reviews, we’ve found that reports out of medical meetings are among the most superficial and imbalanced journalism that we evaluate.

Study abstracts presented at these meetings are often pitched as urgent or a ‘breakthrough’, when actually they’re usually preliminary and yet to be rigorously scrutinized by others.

Headlines like these popping up in the coverage of this week’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Chicago are a striking case in point:

Lowering Your Blood Pressure Could Stave Off Dementia (Bloomberg)

Lowering Blood Pressure Cut Risk of Memory Decline: US Study (Reuters)

There May Finally Be Something You Can Do to Lower Your Risk of Dementia (Time)
There is something about embargoed news releases coming from medical meetings that triggers an unhelpful sense of urgency amongst healthcare reporters.

Very, very rarely do such abstracts contain breakthroughs, paradigm shifts, or unassailable information that will immediately change patient care. And even if they did, isn’t that exactly the kind of information reporters would want to take more time with?
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Re: Medical news reporting

Post by Anaxagoras »

It's unfortunate. You can understand why the incentives of the job would lead that way. If you're a reporter you have to publish news on a regular basis and so they write their stories. And the newspapers or websites have pages to fill or need new content to publish every day.
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Re: Medical news reporting

Post by Doctor X »

Abstracts at meetings, both scientific and humanities, mean "too insignificant to merit presentation."

Presentations at meetings mean "too insignificant to merit publication."

Some things are consistent.

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Re: Medical news reporting

Post by Abdul Alhazred »

It is the same with political news.

Only sports is immune to that sort of thing. :p
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