Why Don’t You Have More Medical News on Your Site?

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Medical News?

Why Don’t You Have More Medical News on Your Site?

One of our readers sent in the question: Why don’t you have more medical news on your site? An excellent question. We’re glad you asked. And, we have a good answer. It starts with another question that’s a hot discussion topic in today’s medical world. Is the supposed medical news on your favorite blog, podcast, TV, or radio show real medical news?

We heard this conversation in a recent podcast.

“We don’t need news. We have rumors. Rumors are better than news. We don’t want to be constrained by the facts. That way we can’t possibly be wrong.”

When Supposed Medical News is Not News At All – Just Hype

Media’s heart and soul, what keeps it alive and keeps the advertising dollars flowing in, is sensationalism. The first rule is, if it bleeds it leads. Violence, death, and injury keep eyeballs watching and ears listening. Rule number 2 is to make everything amazing. Rule number 3 is to be the first to say it, beat the competition to the story. So everything on the news has to be great, remarkable, and heard here first. And any person that can provide such content is their best friend. Whether it’s the guy who lived in an airport for months or the Alaska woman attacked from below by a bear while using an outhouse, the media will chase that person to get the story. Like a king or queen for a day, they are briefly crowned gloriously. Then they disappear forever from the headlines.

Well, Hey, Famous Doctors Would Like to be King/Queen For A Day

Doctors are not immune to this desperate desire to be a media superstar and in the spotlight. They’re human. After years in the lab or seeing patients a bit of glory would be nice. So if they’ve got something that could be news they put it out there. Glory, fame, the hot news item on the morning news. But most doctors and nurses see though this situation. As a doctor, the big, flashy, supposedly-medical-news story on a favorite blog or the morning major network show is often not relevant to the patient sitting in front of you. And, even more awful, the information in today’s morning news might not even be true. Preliminary results often don’t hold up. Even big, final studies need to be repeated to be believed. This is rarely discussed in the news.

There Are Good Doctors With Real News in Media

Don’t misunderstand us. There are radio and television doctors that are not fame seekers. They consult for the network and during the news reports give good information. Examples are: David Agus and Tara Narula on CBS News, Ashish Jha, Sanjay Gupta on CNN, Jennifer Ashton on ABC News, and Nancy Snyderman on ACB, then NBC News. They’ve been very active and helpful during this COVID pandemic.

The Rush to Publish – Why Don’t You Have More Medical News on Your Site?

Do you want a doctor practicing medicine on you with information that’s not fully true? True or maybe true, one thing the news splash does is advertise. A place likes to let the public know that they exist whether they are in Rochester, Topeka, or Cleveland. So if one of their doctors has a tidbit that could flash on the news, go for it. The same with launching a press release or getting a paper into a journal. As long as the information is not clearly false, why not? But here’s the problem. That first look at a study’s results, often called the “top line results”, can be wrong. More time spent and more study done can result in, “Oh, gee, we hadn’t realized that…” Then what was not clearly false is also not fully true.

Is True Today Always and Forever True?

If you were to think back over the many medical news stories you’ve heard through the years, you’ll likely realize something. Big news, coffee is bad for you. A few months later, big news, coffee is good for you. Eat more fish, it’s good for you. Avoid too much fish, it’s full of mercury. Avoid nuts, they’re high in fat. Eat nuts, they’re full of the good fats. Same with chocolate, and tea. I mean, really now. Tea! What could possibly be wrong with tea? (Especially if it’s or Twinings or Yorkshire!) These are examples that the flashy results of that newest, supposedly-big, recent study might not be right. When the study is repeated a few times to make sure it was right, it turns out to be wrong.

Why Don’t You Have More Medical News on Your Site? – Where Was the Study Done?

Where a study is done and where the results are reported are important points. For example, are the results of a study done in Paris relevant to the people in Tokyo? Or Oklahoma? Maybe. Maybe not. The newest big medical news on your favorite blog site, or TV, or radio, breeze past this dilemma. Until a study is repeated in different places with different people it’s not known where the results hold true. But, hey, if a study sounds like the story might be sensational, report it. Heaven forbid that exciting information be left out just because it might not be true.

Who Were the People in the Study?

It’s clear that a study done with Parkinson’s disease patients doesn’t tell you about Alzheimer’s. But even more odd but true, a study done in severe Alzheimer’s disease probably doesn’t tell you much about people with very early Alzheimer’s disease. But everyone is afraid of Alzheimer’s, so that topic will get attention. So, put it in the news and blur the difference. Don’t mention whether the study was done in early, mild Alzheimer’s or severe, late-stage Alzheimer’s. Just say “Alzheimer’s”, that’s what gets people’s attention.

Which Animal Are We Most Like?

Even more off base, animal research. How often have you heard a piece of interesting medical news, then at the end, when your attention might be less focused on that story, the reporter says, “Of course, we’ll need to wait for the study to be done in people to confirm the findings. This study was done in mice.” Yes, there are really good animal models of depression. But, are the mice and rats really “depressed”? There are good transgenic mice models of Alzheimer’s. Are they the same as a person with dementia? Animal models are good and necessary, but many, many medicines that work great in the animal models fail completely when tested in people. The big science news might be animal results but the big medical news is what happens in people.

The Legal System Messes with Medicine

Well, pardon us now because now we’ve climbed up on a soapbox. Because, to meet their own narrow purposes, the law of the land has been known at times to bend and twist of the truth. Lawyers wanting to win a case will find a maybe-kind-of-relevant study and figure out a way to spin the information to support their court case. Then, to try to make sure they win in court, the lawyers put an ad together, post it in blogs, make a podcast, buy TV and radio time, and blast the surrounding communities with their biased spin. The way the study results are told in the ad might have nothing to do with the true study results. But the ads can help to bias the jury pool from those communities. Sadly, it really does happen, over and over again.

Why Don’t You Have More Medical News on Your Site? – Consider Silicone Breast Implants

You might recall when silicone breast implants were taken off the US market because they made women sick. The FDA stopped sales of silicone-filled implants in 1992 until they could study the situation. Having studied the area and learned that the implants didn’t make women ill, the FDA let them back on the market in 2006. Silicone implants do not cause the disorders for which they were blamed, and never did. It was all false information, legal spin, and distorted statistics, or worse yet, testimonials, to win a legal battle. Now silicone implants are again available to women. There’s been no change in the data. They were always safe. (There is this new wrinkle about macro-textured implants from one manufacturer and a rare type of cancer, breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma [BIA-ALCL]. This one might be real.)

Silicone Breast Implants – So Which Is News?

Was it medical news in the late 1980s and early 1990s that breast implants made women sick? It was all over the major media, but it was false. Was it medical news in 2006 that they were back for sale? It was barely and briefly mentioned by the major news outlets, yet it was true. Our sites has a lot of medical news, but not a lot of false sensational medical “news”.

Why Don’t You Have More Medical News on Your Site? – The Erin Brockovich Embarrassment

You might further recall the story about Hinkley, California, and Erin Brockovich. Several books were written and a major movie made about this story. But, it’s not true. The books and movie tell a story that is completely false. But by making up statistics to support fake news the lawyers won $333 million in the court settlement. A huge win for the lawyers. It was also supposed to be a win for the sad people supposedly affected in Hinkley but they’re still wondering where all the money went.

The Erin Brockovich Embarrassment

The statistics really showed that the chemical (hexavalent chromium) in Hinkley’s drinking water did not cause the cancer cases. Erin Brockovich became rich, making $2.5 million, and gained world-wide fame as a world-saving environmental activist. The law firm she worked with made $133 million as their legal fees for the settlement. But the analysis the lawyers presented in court was fake. It was twisted to make it show what it didn’t show. The people supposedly poisoned and hurt never saw much of the money from the settlement. The wrong statistics were presented in court. The attorneys fooled the jury. Figures don’t lie but liars figure. The correct analysis supports that the association between the toxic chemical and the illnesses was no better than random.

Our Site Has Medical News That Represents Good Medicine

Good medicine, the kind you want your doctor to do for you, looks at study results over time. The results of several studies need to be compared. Good doctors talk with each other and with research doctors at medical meetings to learn what’s really true and what’s not. Your doctor keeps you well and treats you when you get sick based on true facts from many studies done over years and years, not based on last week’s sensational, possibly false, story. The medicine your doctor practices is today’s information-based better medicine.

So, Back to the Question about the Neuroscience Research & Development Consultancy Website 

We provide solid medical information based on true information in the areas of medicine that we know. And we don’t post major media medical news and we say that with pride. You’ll find that we do provide new information and when we do, we tell you that it’s new and still needs to be tested over time. We do our best to tell you about any uncertainty as to whether it might eventually be less true.

Helpful links:

The National Library of Medicine on False Hopes, Unwarranted Fears: The Trouble with Medical News Stories

American College of Physicians on Sensationalism in the Media: When Scientists and Journalists May Be Complicit Collaborators

Annals of Internal Medicine on Medical Scientists and Health News Reporting: A Case of Miscommunication

Cornell University on The Ongoing Problem with Medical Journals   

The Washington Post on How sensationalism compounds the opioid crisis

Humana Health and Wellness on ‘Breakthrough’ to Reality of Medical Headlines  

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