Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Paul Knoepfler PhD is “disturbed and concerned.” Here’s why. Knoepfler is a stem cell researcher and professor at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine. Over the past couple of years he has noticed more and more big budget ads for unproven stem cell therapies showing up in major American newspapers, such as these... more
Courtesy of Rosie ChometThe Depression Monster, by Rosie Chomet.   To be a science writer—to generate creative ideas, meet deadlines, and turn around timely revisions—you have to have a routine. Mine starts with a dose of citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that sometimes makes me nauseated but otherwise keeps me healthy. For... more
A couple of recent headlines dealing with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) caught our attention: “Acupuncture may be effective painkiller in the ER” — HealthDay News “New study shows promise of yoga in treating back pain” — When it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When we... more
If anyone ever says that he or she can’t find an industry-independent expert for a news story or for an FDA committee, they just haven’t looked hard enough. For 9 years, we have hosted what is, to the best of our knowledge, a one-of-a-kind list of health care industry-independent experts. Now that list has been revised, with new names... more
Scientists and others are pushing back pretty hard against David Wallace-Wells’s doomsday portrait of climate change, the cover story in the July 10-23 issue of New York magazine. (No, not the... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
Medpage Today sent me a video this week that triggered a stream of consciousness about health literacy … or illiteracy. Here’s my chain of thoughts, not a scientific approach by any means, but more of my trip down a sobering rabbit hole which ends with this question: How much of the health information that journalists send out there... more
Rarely a week passes for us at that we don’t come across surrogate markers being misunderstood or misused. It’s understandable. On the surface they often seem intuitive, while spotting their misapplication is not. But if more consumers and health journalists learned just a few ways to spot this, it would go a long... more
Screenshot from Medscape’s “Not on Anyone’s Radar: Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults” It’s a video series that mostly features one doctor, from one cancer center, that seems to want to make one thing clear about colorectal cancer (CRC) in young people: “there’s a rising tide of young people … (in... more
Just a quickie.  You’ve heard what follows many times before from us.  It is one of the most common flaws in health care journalism. Studies that show a statistical association between two things do not necessarily prove that one thing causes another to occur. We saw that principle violated several times in news coverage of several different... more
The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, recently tweeted that his agency is winning accolades from cancer docs. #FDA is winning plaudits for its thoughtful work on cancer drug approvals #ASCO2017 — Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) June 2, 2017 He was referring to an editorial in The Oncologist by Dr. Bruce Chabner,... more