Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stories on Screening Show Troubling Trend

Over at Nieman Reports, the Health News Review's Gary Schwitzer notes that his organization's ongoing review of health journalism has detected a troubling trend in reporting about screening tests.

"In many news reports—including some done by major news organizations—a crusading advocacy seems to exist when it comes to promoting screening tests," Schweitzer writes. "And this happens even when such guidance conflicts with the best medical evidence."

Schweitzer, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication, says such reporting may be well-intentioned, but can do more harm than good.

"These pro-screening crusades often promote costly approaches, such as CT scans of the heart or of the lungs or of the full body, which convince many new “worried well” people to enter the health care system, costing them and all of us dearly," he says.


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