Portraying Medicine: The Perils of Painting By Numbers

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Friday, July 05, 2013

A special hour of stories about reporting on medical science. The misreporting of the effect of vaccines on autism, tracking retractions in medical journals, and a century old hoax that went uncorrected for forty years.

Battling Bad Science

Stories about new innovations in health appear almost daily in the media, but the claims are frequently overblown, misleading, or completely false. In a TED talk from July, 2011, journalist Ben Goldacre talks about how to spot and avoid bad science.

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Beall's List

Some academic journals have embraced a “gold open access model” of publishing, wherein the scholars whose work appears in the journal pay for the privilege. Bob speaks with Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian at the University of Colorado Denver who has assembled a list of "predatory journals" - journals that may be more interested in profit than academic contributions. 

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Why are Articles Retracted? Ask Retraction Watch

Ivan Oransky is a doctor and journalist and founder, along with Adam Marcus, of a blog called Retraction Watch. The site monitors scientific journals and investigates why articles were retracted. Brooke talks with Oransky, who says that since he and Marcus started the site in 2010 retractions have become more and more frequent.

 

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Piltdown at 100: A Look Back on Science's Biggest Hoax

A hundred years ago, a human-like skull and ape-like jaw were presented at a special meeting of the Geological Society in London. The so-called "Piltdown Man" became widely accepted as a crucial link in the human evolutionary chain; crucial, that is, until 1953, when the bones were exposed as a total hoax. In an interview from December of last year, Nova Senior Science Editor Evan Hadingham talks to Brooke about this tantalizing example of "scientific skullduggery." 

 

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Seth Mnookin on The Panic Virus

There is a scientific consensus that the oft-claimed link between vaccines and Autism simply doesn't exist. And yet, after a decade of no convincing evidence of a link many in the public are still scared and vaccination rates are down. In an interview that originally aired in 2011, Bob speaks to Seth Mnookin, author of The Panic Virus, about why it’s so hard to dislodge misinformation and fear.

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Now Covering the Autism World: The Autism Channel

Launched in late September, The Autism Channel aims covers the whole autism world. Some of the channel's hosts are on the autistic spectrum, and with autism diagnosis soaring, the station has a booming list of potential viewers. In a piece that aired in January 2013, OTM Producer Chris Neary went to West Palm Beach, the home of the channel, to investigate. (You can watch The Autism Channel through a Roku streaming player.)

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