Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

CASW Periscope

Yesterday we reported that 5 patient deaths linked to gastric weight loss balloon devices actually may be “the tip of the iceberg,” due to weak FDA regulations that don’t require mandatory reporting of complications from healthcare providers. As a result, no one really knows how many patients have died or suffered serious... more
Annalee Newitz is the tech culture editor at Ars Technica and the founding editor of io9. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of popular tech site Gizmodo. She’s the author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her first science fiction novel, ... more
When they were first approved in the summer of 2015, two new gastric balloon devices–the Orbera and ReShape–received widespread news coverage. Sources in news stories welcomed them with “enthusiasm” as a “new opportunity” for people wanting to shed pounds, with one doctor even envisioning them for someone... more
Why are health care costs kept so secret? And medical bills so hard to understand? When you buy a car, book a flight, or put things in your grocery cart, you not only know the price in advance, but you can also shop around for the best price. But for most health care services you can’t. And former New York Times editor and reporter, Jeanne... more
This afternoon, 12 days after publishing a troubled op-ed praising drug reps by an “author” who later admitted he didn’t write it, STAT revised its policy for those who submit op-eds to the health care news organization.  In so doing, STAT reacted to many of the criticisms we raised in our original criticism on September 7 and in... more
Ants outnumber humans by a ratio of one million to one. You may think of them as party-crashers at your picnic or invaders in your kitchen, but Eleanor Spicer Rice finds them beguiling, and wants you to learn more about the societies beneath our feet. Follow them home. Track their highways. Learn about a nifty science project, the School of Ants,... more
Right before Congress adjourned for the August recess, the Senate rushed through “right to try” legislation that its sponsor Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin argued gives terminally ill patients the “right to access treatments that have demonstrated a level of safety and could potentially save their lives.” Johnson was selling hope, a commodity never... more
Screenshot from a Gilead/ Harvoni television ad The author of a STAT op-ed headlined “You can complain about TV drug ads. They may have saved my life” says a PR company with ties to the pharmaceutical industry asked her to write the piece and edited it. Deborah Dushane, whose op-ed credits television ads for hepatitis C drugs with motivating her... more
Courtesy of Maggie Koerth-BakerMaggie Koerth-Baker On the campaign trail leading up to last year’s presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump kept up a refrain that proved popular with his supporters: The election, he claimed, was rigged by fraudulent voters, many of whom were illegal immigrants. Trump proclaimed he had peer-reviewed... more
The major health news story last week was on a re-assessment of prostate cancer screening published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study’s release generated stories in the New York Times, TIME, Consumer Reports, STAT,  ABS-CBN News (Philippines) and the LA Times, among others. The reporting confirms what we already know about the... more