The news media, in case you ever wondered, rarely do a good job at reporting Medical News. Why? Several reasons.
The first reason is the average medical reporter is NOT a doctor. As an example, here’s a short article by WJRT-TV’s Leslie Toldo, titled “The Benefits of a Positive Attitude.” But this “health reporter” is really one of the station’s four meteorologists. The health and medical reporter for one of the popular TV stations in my area has a degree in Telecommunications.
Think about it: if medical reporters were actually medical professionals, they would probably be working in a medical field, correct? Often they just read a press release from a medical organization, re-write it in their voice, check to see if the organization can provide additional audio or visuals for the story (often they can offer an entire prepared package) and just run with it. No muss, no fuss… and very little fact checking.
That’s why a website named the Health News Review is so good. HNR takes stories that appear in the US National Media and analyzes them for accuracy. They applaud the good reporting and nail the bad reporting, such as this story which claims the three tests used – echograms, ultrasounds, and Cardiac CT scans – generate no radiation! That statement is completely untrue, as a CT scan zaps you with the radiation of 600 chest X-Rays!
So when you see or hear a medical report that you aren’t familiar with or just don’t understand, don’t take the report at face value. Check it out for yourself!