Quick Thoughts

Beware of the pinkwashing of suicide prevention

Cause marketing of cosmetics to prevent suicide could mark the return of exploitation of a good cause for profit. Just as with we learned with Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon campaigns, we need to ask questions about where the profits are going and whether we should object.

Health misinformation in the news: The role of the scholarly community

Academics should be made accountable for exaggerated claims in their press releases.

A Quixotic Quest to Obtain a Dataset on Media Violence With an Unexpected Price Tag

A routine request for data from a study of the effects of media violence on youth yielded an invoice and threats.

Is the Science Media Centre briefing on cognitive behaviour therapy trustworthy?

The UK Science Media Centre offered a highly biased briefing to journals concerning cognitive behaviour therapy. Beware of sources who scream too loudly they are trustworthy.

Ellen Langer: genius or quack?

Ellen Langer: genius or quack –or master self-marketer? Another lesson we need to be wary of trustworthiness and authority established by awards or celebrity status. We need to be skeptical of the publicity machines that confer celebrity status on “scientists.’ We need to be skeptical about scientists who gather such recognition. It could be just […]

When Simon Wessely shoved a Hans Eysenck scandal under the rug

Updated May 7, 2016 I have also now responded to Sir Simon Wessely ‘s comment on Twitter about this post. I invite a further reply from him. Soon there may be a renewed call for an investigation of misconduct by famous UK psychologist Hans Eysenck.  What happened the last time reflects on the ability of […]

‘We don’t share data.’ Why Peter White’s Wall Street Journal letter can be ignored

  A few posts back, I discussed how the push for sharing of data from the PACE for chronic fatigue syndrome trial got a boost from an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by Amy Dockser Marcus. Queens University of London would not make the PACE investigators available to the journalist for comment. I’m […]

UK expert: AIDS data should not be shared until requesters shown to be HIV-

Sometimes activists fail to appreciate the difference between activists and journalists. Activists seek to advance a particular point of view. They may become impatient and even intolerant of those who disagree with them. Responsible journalists, in contrast, allow a diversity of viewpoints to be expressed through their writings. They often resort to direct quotes to […]

No Dissing! NHS Choices Behind the Headlines needs to repair relationship with its readers

A knight in tarnished amour Although by no means perfectly dependable, the NHS Choices Behind the Headlines is generally a useful resource for lay and professional consumers bombarded by distorted coverage of science and health information in the media. I cheered the headline and NHS Choices Behind the Headlines’ coverage  of a PLOS Medicine article […]

Deconstructing misleading media coverage of neuroscience of couples therapy

Do we owe psychotherapists something more than noble lies and fairy tales in our translations of fMRI results? The press release below was placed on the web by the University of Ottawa and refers to an article published in PLOS One. As I have noted in blog posts here and here, the PLOS One article […]

BMJ Rapid Responses, PubMed Commons, and Blogging

Why I said no to revising my submission to BMJ Rapid Response I said that I would submit my last blog post to BMJ Rapid Responses and I did. But here is the response that I received: Dear Professor Coyne, Thank you for your rapid response (copied below). We would like to post if you […]

Who’s to blame for inaccurate media coverage of study of therapy for persons with schizophrenia?

“I’m in competition with literally hundreds of stories every day, political and economic stories of compelling interest…we have to almost overstate, we have to come as close as we came within the boundaries of truth to dramatic, compelling statement. A weak statement will go no place.” —-Journalist interviewed for JA Winsten, Science and media: the […]