"Everything gives you cancer-or does it?" With Andre Picard is about to begin! #CAJ16health
Andre's Twitter handle is @picardonhealth #CAJ16health
Picard is a health journalist with The Globe and Mail where he has been a staff writer since 1987! #CAJ16health #edmonton #health
Today Picard is discussing the challenges on reporting health studies. What can you trust? We will find out soon! #CAJ16health
Why does the media cover 'hip, haphazard and irrational' health studies? Well according to Andre Picard, with 25000 health journals and so much information, many articles cover stories that are sponsored by universities and companies who have ready-to-go press releases and materials #CAJ16health
"One of the biggest mistakes health journalists make is relying on studies done on rats" -Andre Picard. What's more, Picard reveals that most of these stories don't mention the fact that their findings are from rat studies. Do you think studies about rats are useful to human health? #CAJ16health
Picard asks us to avoid words like "breakthrough" "miracle" "game changer" and so on when writing health articles because they are misleading and often illegitimate. #CAJ16health
How much a new treatment costs is probably one of the most important issues about the treatment. But most articles don't mention this fact. Andre Picard thinks this is especially important when we talk about drugs. #CAJ16health
Does a story accurately show the risk/benefit analysis of a drug or treatment?
For example, a pain killer called Vioxx from the late 1990's that was used to treat arthritis with nearly no side effects was marketed and acclaimed as a nearly perfect treatment. Some research revealed it caused heart problems but these were not publicized.
It became the best selling drug in America with over $10 000 000 per year in sales.
It also killed 60 000 people in the US. It is no longer sold. The way it was reported on contributed to the way it was perceived versus how it actually worked. #CAJ16health
Disease mongoring: misrepresenting the severity of disease.
This includes creating disease labels for things that are not diseases. Such as menopause, baldness and ED. Andre Picard warns us about pharmaceutical companies who just want to sell products that won't improve the lives of their patients. #CAJ16health
Picard believes it is important to compare new and existing treatments rather than new treatments and placebos. #CAJ16health
"Promising treatment": the larvae stage of a disappointing treatment. Picard asks us to avoid hype and find enough research on real humans (not rats) before reporting. #CAJ16health
Are new drugs actually new? Or just a one molecule difference from older treatments that effectively act the same way but are twice as expensive because they are newer? Questions from #CAJ16health
Scepticism is important to health journalism according to Andre Picard
#baconcausescancer This story started off as a press release from IARC with what Andre Picard classifies as poor journalistic communication. Headlines and stories took the face value and didn't delve deep enough to the story. What's the dosage? What's the real risk? Picard believes the bacon story tells us something important about risk communication. #CAJ16health
We will finish off by talking about what risk communication means.
Peter Sandman defines it as risk+hazard+outrage
With cancer, the risk is moderate but the outrage is huge and headlines really zoom in on outrage.
Is risk immediate? Andre Picard asks us to unravel and give context to risk to bring it back down to earth and make it an easier pill to swallow. #CAJ16health