Bad science and bad science comm (and how to get them better)

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This study of hype in press releases will change journalism. Many scientists greet the prospect of media coverage with a combination of excitement and trepidation.

This study of hype in press releases will change journalism

The attention can be heady and show the importance of a researcher’s findings. But there’s also the chance that the news media will hype the scientist’s findings. A lab study in rats ending up in the paper with the claim that more bacon jerky could prevent cancer can be embarrassing at best. My rejection of the National Marriage Project’s “Before ‘I Do’” All day today, “The Decisive Marriage” has topped the New York Times most-emailed list.

My rejection of the National Marriage Project’s “Before ‘I Do’”

The piece is a Well Blog post, written by Tara Parker-Pope, which reports on a report published by the National Marriage Project and written by Galena Rhoades and Scott Stanley, “Before ‘I Do': What Do Premarital Experiences Have to Do with Marital Quality Among Today’s Young Adults?” I have frequently criticized the National Marriage Project, run by Bradford Wilcox (posts listed under this tag), and I ignore their work when I can. Hard Evidence: do bikeshare schemes lead to more head injuries among cyclists? Public bikesharing schemes are sprouting up in towns and cities worldwide.

Hard Evidence: do bikeshare schemes lead to more head injuries among cyclists?

The bikes are generally provided without helmets, and this has led to concerns regarding the risk of serious head injuries. It has been shown that the users of these bike hire schemes are less likely to wear helmets, high-visibility clothing or specialist cycling Lycra than people riding their own bikes. We’ve argued this is a good thing, as it helps normalise the image of cycling away from a specialist past-time, reducing the perception that riding a bicycle is a risky activity or only for super-sporty people. But a recent study by Janessa Graves and colleagues published in the American Journal of Public Health concluded that there was a link between the introduction of bikesharing schemes in North American cities and the risk of bicycle-related head injuries.

So it was argued that helmets should be incorporated into the schemes as standard from the outset. Why I'm feeling so crabby about cancer conspiracy theories. Don't read the comments.

Why I'm feeling so crabby about cancer conspiracy theories

Don't read the comments. Oh shit, I read the comments. Guest post by Tara Haelle: If a 12-year-old's "breakthrough" sounds too good to be true... [Editor's note: Tara Haelle is a freelance science writer whose specialties include medicine, vaccines and public health.

Guest post by Tara Haelle: If a 12-year-old's "breakthrough" sounds too good to be true...

Her work has appeared in Scientific American and Slate. She blogs at Red Wine & Apple Sauce and is working on a book about science-based parenting with Emily Willingham.] Anti-vaxx insanity: New study highlights the dangers of science denialism. We are breaking a new record in the U.S., and it is not one we want to break: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles cases are at a 20-year high.

Anti-vaxx insanity: New study highlights the dangers of science denialism

As of May 23, more than 288 cases have been reported this year. To put that in perspective, only 37 cases were reported in all of 2004. In 2002, measles had been declared eliminated in the Americas. The CDC reports that most Americans have either contracted measles in the past, and are now immune, or have received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, among the most effective vaccinations available. Yet, measles is now an epidemic in Minnesota, where a 2.5-year-old child was identified by the science journal Pediatrics last month as patient zero, ultimately responsible for exposing more than 3,000 people in its community to the disease. Is widespread sexism making hurricanes more deadly than himmicanes?

A recently published paper claims that the gender of the name given to individual hurricanes is linked to the public's perception of the risk posed by that storm.

Is widespread sexism making hurricanes more deadly than himmicanes?

In short, this study claims that hurricanes given female-sounding names are perceived to be less dangerous than those given male-sounding names (which we refer to here as "himmicanes"). This public underestimation of risk apparently results in hurricanes causing significantly more deaths than himmicanes. Thousands of lives put at risk by clinical trials system that is 'not fit for purpose' A major outbreak of infectious disease could sweep through the country and leave thousands dead or ill because hospitals cannot test life-saving treatments quickly enough, senior doctors have told the Guardian.

Thousands of lives put at risk by clinical trials system that is 'not fit for purpose'

Profound delays in the approvals process for clinical trials mean doctors face months of form-filling and administrative checks that make it impossible to run crucial tests in good time, said Jeremy Farrar, in his first major interview as director of the Wellcome Trust. Farrar, a world expert on infectious diseases at Oxford University, has taken over from Sir Mark Walport, who left the medical charity to become the government's chief science adviser. Disgraced Scientist Granted U.S. Patent for Work Found to be Fraudulent. Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk electrified the science world 10 years ago with his claim that he had created the world’s first cloned human embryos and had extracted stem cells from them.

Disgraced Scientist Granted U.S. Patent for Work Found to be Fraudulent

But the work was later found to be fraudulent, and Dr. Hwang was fired from his university and convicted of crimes. Despite all that, Dr. Hwang has just been awarded an American patent covering the disputed work, leaving some scientists dumbfounded and providing fodder to critics who say the Patent Office is too lax. Medical records rules broken, NHS admits. 24 February 2014Last updated at 12:56 ET By Nick Triggle Health correspondent, BBC News Medical records appear to have been wrongly given to the insurance industry by the health service, the NHS admits.

Medical records rules broken, NHS admits

Details on hospital admissions from 1989 to 2010 were handed to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Brain Injuries: what NICE doesn't tell you. The title of this post is a play on the title of the magazine "What doctors don't tell you" (a rag so packed to the brim with pseudoscience and anti-vaccine propaganda that it's practically a quack's guidebook, but that's a story for another day). As regular readers will be aware, I believe doctors generally do tell you absolutely what you need to know. Unfortunately, it seems the UK's governing body that assesses among other things, what doctors should tell you, has been resisting calls from a range of experts to inform people who have had brain injuries about a piece of information that could save their life. Nice is the acronym for the UK's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the body that decides the guidelines British doctors should follow. If Newspaper Headlines Were Scientifically Accurate.

Condamnée pour avoir plagié le mémoire de son étudiant. Researchers: your guide to hitting the headlines - Health News. Friday December 27 2013 This is gonna be the biggest scoop since fish grew legs! Boffins, are you having trouble communicating the fruits of your labour to a wider audience? What a difference a day makes: How social media is transforming scientific debate (with tweets) · deevybee. The seven deadly sins of health and science reporting. Benjamin Franklin said two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Another one we could add to this list is that on any given news website and in almost all print media there will be articles about health and nutrition that are complete garbage. Some articles that run under the health and nutrition “news” heading are thought provoking, well researched and unbiased, but unfortunately not all. Why it's time for brain science to ditch the 'Venus and Mars' cliche.

As hardy perennials go, there is little to beat that science hacks' favourite: the hard-wiring of male and female brains. For more than 30 years, I have seen a stream of tales about gender differences in brain structure under headlines that assure me that from birth men are innately more rational and better at map-reading than women, who are emotional, empathetic multi-taskers, useless at telling jokes. I am from Mars, apparently, while the ladies in my life are from Venus.

Glaxo Says It Will Stop Paying Doctors to Promote Drugs. Neil Hall/Reuters Andrew Witty, Glaxo’s chief executive, said the changes are part of an effort to “to try and make sure we stay in step with how the world is changing.” The announcement appears to be a first for a major drug company — although others may be considering similar moves — and it comes at a particularly sensitive time for Glaxo.

It is the subject of a bribery investigation in China, where authorities contend the company funneled illegal payments to doctors and government officials in an effort to lift drug sales. Andrew Witty, Glaxo’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview Monday that its proposed changes were unrelated to the investigation in China, and were part of a yearslong effort “to try and make sure we stay in step with how the world is changing,” he said.

“We keep asking ourselves, are there different ways, more effective ways of operating than perhaps the ways we as an industry have been operating over the last 30, 40 years?” Whomp! Using invited editorial commentary to neutralize negative findings. Lessons from the L'Aquila earthquake. Sex Makes You Rich? Why We Keep Saying “Correlation Is Not Causation” Even Though It’s Annoying. Biased but Brilliant, Science Embraces Pigheadedness. Psychologically Flawed. A French love affair... with graphology. Brain stimulation hits the mainstream – commercial tDCS device available soon for $249. Risks of placing scientists 'on message' Reflections on a foray into post-publication peer review. Still Not Significant (with images, tweets) · anniebruton. “What I find offensive is not that they plagiarized us, it’s that they did it so badly” Why We May Never Beat Stigma.

Formal investigation launched into work at dean's lab. Ape researcher suspended amid welfare concerns - life - 18 September 2012. Faking it. Evgeny Morozov: The Naked And The TED. What Jonah Lehrer reveals about popular science writing » Daniel Bor. New Yorker's Jonah Lehrer quits over fake Dylan quotes. Viewpoint: The spectre of plagiarism haunting Europe. A first? Papers retracted for citation manipulation. Citation Cartel Journals Denied 2011 Impact Factor. Math paper retracted because it “contains no scientific content” Mighty molten powder researchers publish paper in journal twice, months apart. 'Chemical nonsense': Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton's attack on climate science.

For shame! Nature shills for traditional Chinese medicine : Respectful Insolence. Interdira-t-on les prévisions climatiques. Is this the worst government statistic ever created? Wait, Maybe You Can't Feel the Future - Percolator. Controversial chronic fatigue-virus paper retracted. What eight years of writing the Bad Science column have taught me. Misconduct in science: An array of errors. Informed-consent forms should be shortened, simplified, Johns Hopkins bioethicists confirm. Can we trust scientists who give TED talks? Science publishers don't care about the public : We Beasties. Bad Science. Climate change education can still be part of a slimmed-down curriculum. Stephen Jay Gould accused of fudging numbers. The complete film - Why is science important? FT Comment: Political ideas need proper testing. Doctors will be asked to help identify people at risk of becoming terrorists. Whistle-blower claims his accusations cost him his job : Nature News.

Nversion therapy: she tried to make me 'pray away the gay' When Peer Review Falters - Room for Debate. Pop psych nonsense and the Chandlers. The framing of scientists « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings. How can we corral data to reveal the big picture? The sinister threat to our language and brains. Why was that paper retracted? Editor to Retraction Watch: “It’s none of your damn business” The Great Beyond: Duke geneticist resigns as investigation continues. The Great Beyond: New intelligent design centre launches in Britain. Why I spoofed science journalism. Pornography in hospitals. Plagiarism pinioned : Nature. Journalism warning labels. Journalism Warning Labels. Creationists seek to insert their own brand of 'truth' into education.

Claude Allègre: The Climate Imposter. Vaccine-Autism Coffin Has No More Room for Nails. Not fit for television. In which I continue to whine about crappy science journalism blogging. This is a news website article about a scientific finding. Sabotage: postdoc fiddles with graduate student's cells. The shroud of retraction: Virology Journal withdraws paper about whether Christ cured a woman with flu. When did announcing science become the same as publishing science? Nobelist Linda Buck retracts two studies on olfactory networks — and the news is embargoed.

Paper retractions do not induce citation mutations. Faked data, unsubstantiated claims, and spirituality add up to a math journal retraction.