Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

In August of 2012, Ronald Postuma, MD, a neurologist from McGill University, performed a study along with several coauthors which suggested that caffeine improves debilitating movement symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease. News coverage was brisk and included major outlets like Reuters, CBS News, Huffington Post, and Fox News (... more
A special thanks and welcome to NASW's new treasurer, Alexandra Witze. The Board voted to have Alex, a contributing correspondent for Nature and Science News magazines and first elected to the Board last year, fill the mid-term opening in the treasurer position created when former treasurer Robert Frederick departed last month to pursue a... more
Earlier earlier this week, just in time for flu season, the ‘Well’ section of the New York Times (a lifestyle-focused part of their health section) offered this 233-word slice of pap: An Upbeat Mood May Boost Your Flu Shot’s Effectiveness I won’t burden you by going in-depth on why this headline is particularly misleading;... more
With September’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in full swing, an industry-affiliated partnership has turned to high-profile former NFL coaches to deliver its prostate cancer screening message. It’s a clever choice: professional coaches are good at getting men to do all kinds of things they might not otherwise want to do, whether it’s... more
Jason HoustonLizzie Wade in the Andes.   The western Amazon, which includes parts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil, is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. The 6.7-million-square-kilometer [2.6-million-square-mile] region is home to 10 percent of the world’s known species. What gave rise to the Amazon rainforest’s... more
As a self-avowed beer snob, I would be the kind of audience that would surely be lured by the health clickbait proclaiming “Beer hops may protect against liver disease.” After all, when you find something that reinforces your questionable habits, how can you not click on it? That is the essence of clickbait–to write a headline that’s... more
Multiple news outlets are covering a new study conducted in Mexico on fluoride exposure during pregnancy and its association with lower childhood IQ. Water fluoridation is common across the U.S. and the potential to stoke unwarranted fear is great. If you are reading or writing about this study here are four questions should you should be asking... more
Taxpayers who make mistakes on their 1040 forms are subject to stiff penalties and interest charges, all nondeductible. Are taxpayers excused from those assessments if they're able to show their reliance on information in the IRS's own publications? Only in whatever kind of life is yet to come. Article type: ScienceWriters magazineArticle... more
A study about alcohol use during pregnancy kicked up major media waves last weekend—but was all that frothy coverage warranted? It was another lesson in the pitfalls of reporting on scientific research, as headlines around the world issued some potentially dangerous misinformation. The Times of London, one of the largest daily newspapers in the UK... more
“Something is really, really wrong with me,” Julie Rehmeyer realized. Once an avid biker, she staggered when she walked. Everyday chores exhausted her. Some physicians she consulted dismissed or trivialized her complaints. The diagnosis, slow in coming, was chronic fatigue syndrome. The treatment options she was offered proved costly and useless.... more