Stories in the media are often the first or even the only way that people hear about science and medical news. So we need to get the reporting right.
Health reporting requires asking the right questions and doing quality research. But specialist skills are also handy, especially when it comes to knowing the language and processes of science.
It’s hard for lay readers to ascertain the difference between incremental research and genuine breakthroughs that will change the practice of medicine.
The University of Melbourne/AAP
Now, more than ever, in a world filled with 'fake news', it's up to researchers to work hard to have accurate messages publicised.
A compound found in aged cheese has been linked to better ageing processes.
Headlines screaming that aged cheese could be an aid to better ageing were based on a paper that didn't test the effects of cheese on ageing.
Success in human drug development is painfully low.
News reports this week hailing a breakthrough in Alzheimer's research, saying a vaccine for the disease is a few years away, have raised hopes for many. But let's take a step back from the headlines.
There is no firm evidence that mobile phone radiation causes us harm.
ABC's Catalyst episode "Wi-Fried" claimed that mobile phones and Wi-Fi might be a cancer risk, but the leading experts are not so convinced.
Drug checking would make music festivals safer.
Not only are our drug policies not working, we're falling behind the rest of the world and what evidence says is best to ensure we have fewer deaths from illicit drugs.
The apparent seesaw in health journalism causes science fatigue in the public mind.
The media constantly bombards us with the latest research on a plethora of topics without much nuance on its quality or relevance. So how can we trust science if it can't seem to make up its own mind?
Half a million fewer statins were dispensed to patients in the eight months following the Catalyst broadcasts.
In October 2013, Catalyst broadcast a segment highly critical of statins, a class of drug used for lowering cholesterol.
Who needs balance?
How do you know the people billed as science experts that you see, hear and read about in the media are really all that credible? Or have they been included just to create a perception of balance in the…