PREPARED PATIENT BLOG

Patients and experts explore what it takes to find good health care and make the most of it.

Gary Schwitzer has spent more than 30 years in journalism on radio, television, interactive multimedia and the Internet. He is the publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, a website aimed at improving the accuracy, balance and completeness of health news reporting and helping consumers evaluate the evidence for and against new ideas in health care. Want to know more? Follow him on Twitter at @garyschwitzer.


NBC Vastly Exaggerates the Potential Benefits of Lung Cancer Screening

Gary Schwitzer | January 16, 2014
When we talk about a consistently clear pattern of news stories that exaggerate or emphasize benefits while minimizing or ignoring harms, we are talking about stories exactly like this one...

Scary Coffee Stories – Add Cream and Two Lumps of Caveats

Gary Schwitzer | August 27, 2013
You may have seen the story the other day about a paper pointing to an association – not proof of cause – between heavy coffee consumption and higher death rates in people younger than 55. At last check, there were more than 170 stories about this study that turned up on a simple web search. But there was a point that didn’t make it into most stories...

Robotic Surgery Roundup: Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Much More

Gary Schwitzer | August 16, 2013
Robotic surgery systems are spreading so quickly across the U.S. and across the globe that trying to keep up with the news could become a fulltime beat. Here are just a few nuggets in an attempt to catch up on things you may have missed...

Time’s “How to Cure Cancer” Cover – Worst of the Year?

Gary Schwitzer | May 20, 2013
That’s what journalist Seth Mnookin writes on Slate, stating, further, that it is “wrong, grandiose, and cruel.” He writes, “I haven’t found a single cancer researcher who believes this means we’re on the verge of curing cancer.”

Guest Blog: Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer Clamor for a Different Awareness Level

Gary Schwitzer | October 4, 2011
October is breast cancer awareness month. But October 13th is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) argue that "awareness" should not be the only message ' or even the main message'of the month. Here are 13 facts they think you should know...

We Interrupt This State Fair for a Little Prostate Cancer Screening

Gary Schwitzer | September 7, 2011
There are a few things a man should think about seriously before rolling up his sleeve for the supposedly "simple" blood test. 'But here, prostate cancer screening is hawked in the same setting as the modern-day carnies pitching their slice-'em-and-dice-'em devices and inventions you only see at the state fair - "only at this price today!"

NBC Urges Women >40 to Ask About CRP Test

Gary Schwitzer | August 19, 2011
After seeing the NBC Nightly News last night, a physician urged me to write about what he saw: a story about a "simple blood test that could save women's lives." Readers - and maybe especially TV viewers - beware whenever you hear a story about "a simple blood test."

Guest Blog: Laurel & Hardy and Prostate Cancer Chemoprevention

Gary Schwitzer | August 10, 2011
A drug currently used for benign prostate problems is now being pushed for prostate cancer prevention. But the FDA warns there's evidence it may actually result in more advanced cancers.

Guest Blog: "Creepy" Invasion of Pharma Into Patient-Targeted Social Media Space

Gary Schwitzer | July 12, 2011
Marilyn Mann is a securities lawyer and a breast cancer survivor. Here, she exposes the recent message she received from a woman who joined her Facebook page.

Guest Blog: A Disconnect in Consumer Reports Survey of Doctors and Patients

Gary Schwitzer | February 23, 2011
The thing that jumped out at me most from the Consumer Reports survey of almost 700 primary care physicians and thousands of CR subscribers - described by CR as "What doctors wish their patients knew" - was something about what patients wish their doctors knew.

Prevention Magazine Pushes High-tech, Non-Evidence-based Heart Screenings More Than Basic Prevention

Gary Schwitzer | January 26, 2011
The February issue of Prevention magazine has an article, "Surprising Faces of Heart Attack" profiling "three women (who) didn't think they were at high risk. Their stories are proof that you could be in danger without even knowing it." No, their stories are not proof of that.

Free Aneurysm Screenings: Not All K-Mart Blue Light Specials Are Bargains

Gary Schwitzer | October 28, 2010
K-Mart, Medtronic, and a bunch of specialty medical groups are sponsoring a campaign called "Find the AAAnswers" - the AAA standing for abdominal aortic aneurysms.