Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All the Justice Money Can Buy

All The Justice Money Can Buy, by Snigdha Prakash

Jun 18 2011 6:00 pm
Politics & Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC

The investigative journalist goes behind the scenes of a high-stakes trial, shadowing a top trial lawyer as he takes on Merck, one of the nation’s most respected drug companies.

The Remarkable Ascent of Antipsychotic Drugs

Drug companies have paid enormous settlements for illegally marketing antipsychotic drugs, yet doctors continue to prescribe antipsychotics widely.  Maia Szalavitz explains in "Drugging the Vulnerable," on Time.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Markingson Files on Heisel's The Antidote: The Pressure to Recruit Patients

William Heisel's "Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories," has been posting court documents and medical records from the case of Dan Markingson, who died in an AstraZeneca-funded trial of antipsychotics at the University of Minnesota.  The most recent installment, which concerns the pressure placed on researchers to recruit subjects for the CAFE study, can be found here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Scientists and Journalists: Can't We All Just Get Along?" by Mary Carmichael

"Scientists and Journalists: Can't We All Just Get Along?"
presented by Mary Carmichael (MIT)
May 25, 2011
Room 2-530
Moos Tower
University of Minnesota

Mary Carmichael is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She will present a talk on the relationship between scientists and the journalists who report on them. Ms. Carmichael has covered medical science for a decade at Newsweek, where she was a Senior Writer with specialties in human genetics and genomics, psychiatry, and global health. She had several cover stories, including a personal experience with Direct-to-Consumer genetic testing. She also writes for The Economist, Nature, Scientific American, the Boston Globe, Xconomy, and others. She is a co-author of two books and contributor to several others, and has degrees in biological anthropology and public policy from Duke. She offers a unique perspective of hype in the scientific media and the responsibilities of journalists in reporting health-related breakthroughs.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Disability justice or cyborg fantasy?

"On May 14, Austin Whitney walked across the stage to receive his diploma from UC Berkeley. Whitney is a paraplegic but was able to walk with the help of the “Austin” exoskeleton, a robotic suit being developed by Professor Homayoon Kazerooni at UC Berkeley’s Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory. The story has been widely covered by the media, as tales of high-tech gadgets for people with disabilities often are. But we need to pause and consider what it means, for people with disabilities and for prospects of human enhancement, to celebrate a device such as this. Whitney’s walk across stage prompted a standing ovation, but what exactly was being applauded?"

Read more from Emily Beitiks at Biopolitical Times.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Strib strikes back

On May 1, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published a blistering article about financial mismanagement at the University of Minnesota Medical School, subtitled,"Financial perils follow years of big payouts in pursuit of faculty stars."  Shortly thereafter, the Dr. Aaron Friedman, VP for the Academic Health Center and Dean of Medicine, sent out an email to faculty members, charging that the article was inaccurate and unfair.  Friedman detailed the points he believed were inaccurate and ended by saying, "I believe it's critically important that we speak up when statements are made that are unfair or simply wrong, and I also know that our community stands up for what's right."

Now the Strib has responded to each of his points in detail.  Have a look and judge for yourself.  The response can be found here.

The Markingson Files: documents posted online

William Heisel's "Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories," is posting court documents and medical records from the case of Dan Markingson, who died in an AstraZeneca-funded trial of antipsychotics at the University of Minnesota.  The first installment can be found here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Free Asthma Inhalers, brought to you by Peabody Energy

Why Free Inhalers? Because COAL CARES.

Coal Cares™ is a brand-new initiative from Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company, to reach out to American youngsters with asthma and to help them keep their heads high in the face of those who would treat them with less than full dignity. For kids who have no choice but to use an inhaler, Coal Cares™ lets them inhale with pride.

Puff-Puff™ inhalers are available free to any family living within 200 miles of a coal plant, and each inhaler comes with a $10 coupon towards the cost of the asthma medication itself.
Read more here.

Pay-to-play health news

Dear Editor or Health Editor:

Would you consider running our press release as a win-win project? We will pay $100 for every Skin Care Patient who sees the press release in your newspaper and commits to our exclusive and effective process. We monitor each incoming patient and where they heard about us.

Gary Schwitzer tells the story.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why academic physicians don't understand ghostwriting

Here's a new one: a McGill professor accused of signing ghostwritten articles issues a statement defending herself -- but the statement was written by the McGill public relations office.  Read about it here.

Alarming death rates in South Carolina dialysis clinics

The Post and Courier reports.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fear and Loathing in Graduate School

"Pay no attention to the screams you hear coming from the next room, the subjects were told as they administered the electric shocks, it’s for their own good—a perfect allegory of the relationship between tenured professors and graduate students." William Deresiewicz writes about the exploitation of graduate students and adjunct professors in The Nation.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Journalists call for independent investigation of Protess controversy at Medill

From the Poynter Institute.  (Read the full story here.)


We are deeply concerned about what appears to be a retaliatory campaign by law enforcement authorities and Northwestern University against long-time investigative journalist and Professor David Protess.
Professor Protess has established a national reputation at Northwestern University by working with journalism students on investigations that have resulted in the release of a dozen innocent men from death row or long prison terms. His work and writings have inspired many to become investigative journalists and to the creation of innocence projects in their own communities.

This controversy began two years ago when the Cook County prosecutor began an unprecedented effort to obtain the notes, grades and emails of Professor Protess’ students, who worked on the case of a man who appears to have been unjustly convicted.

Now Professor Protess’ methods and honesty have been questioned not only by prosecutors, but by his employer, Northwestern University, and its attorneys. This month, in a highly unusual proceeding the University presented its case against Professor Protess to a closed session of the journalism faculty. Professor Protess was barred from the meeting, denying him an opportunity to confront the accusations. Then the university issued a press release making public the serious allegations against him, quickly adding that it would not comment any further.

Tarnished and isolated, Protess has been the subject of news reports and leaks that further damaged his reputation. In response, he has asked for an independent investigation into the allegations against him as well as the conduct of all those involved.

We support such an investigation and we call on our colleagues, especially those covering the news media, to join in investigating what is happening at Northwestern University. We also ask university officials to present themselves in a public session to explain their actions, and to answer questions on why they have endangered one of the premier investigative reporting projects in the country.

*Affiliation listed for identification purposes only
Prof. Lowell Bergman, Logan Professor of Investigative Reporting, UC Berkeley
Prof. Mark Feldstein, George Washington University
Prof. Brant Houston, Knight Chair in Investigative Reporting, University of Illinois
David Cay Johnston, investigative reporter and author
Prof. Charles Lewis, American University
Prof. Belle Adler, Northeastern University
Laurie Becklund, writer and author
Bill Boyarsky, political writer, Truthdig
David Burnham, Investigative Reporter
John Camp, former senior investigative correspondent, CNN
John S. Carroll, Retired Newspaper Editor
Prof. Wendell Cochran, American University
Sheila Coronel, Toni Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism, Columbia University
Prof. Stephen Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism, Arizona State University
Dan Gillmor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, Author, “We the Media” and “Mediactive”
Prof. Theodore Glasser, Stanford University
Florence Graves, The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism & The Justice Brandeis Innocence Project
Prof. Christopher Hanson, Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland
Ellen Hume, Annenberg Fellow in Civic Media, Central European University
Martin Koughan, former senior producer, CNN and CBS News
Prof. Jane E. Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law, University of Minnesota
Prof. Marvin Kalb, Murrow Professor Emeritus, Kennedy School, Harvard University
Katherine Kross, ex-CNN and Bloomberg TV Washington bureau chief
Prof. David T. Z. Mindich, Media Studies chair, Saint Michael’s College
Morton Mintz, Senior Advisor, Niemanwatchdog.org, former Washington Post reporter
Jim Naughton, Emeritus President of The Poynter Institute.
James Neff, investigative journalist, author
Mark Nykanen, author and journalist, former NBC News correspondent
Prof. William Serrin, New York University
Prof. Herman Schwartz, American University’s Washington College of Law
Ira Silverman, former senior producer, NBC News
Prof. Edward Wasserman, Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics, Washington and Lee University
Prof. Steve Weinberg, author and emeritus professor, University of Missouri
Henry Weinstein, Professor the Practice of Law and Senior Lecturer in Literary Journalism, University of California, Irvine
Tracy Wood, investigative reporter

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Shirley Sherrods of Academe?

Inside Higher Ed reports a conservative-led attack on academic freedom at the University of Missouri.  Read about it here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Consent? What consent?

A clinical trial  led by Dr. Claudia I. Henschke at Weill Cornell Medical College made headlines in 2006 when it concluded that 80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented through wide use of CT scans.  Then it turned out that the study was funded in part by a cigarette maker.  Now, says the New York Times, 90% of the study's consent forms can't be located.  Read about it here.