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October 15, 2008


Coverage of health and health care, as all coverage of science, is extremely uneven, with all too many journalists lacking a basic understanding of the principals defining good research, as well as lacking a basic understanding of the workings of the human body and mind. There is often a lack of understanding that having health insurance is not equivalent to having access to health care. Note here the experience of Massachusetts, where the proportion of the insured has increased dramatically, but access to health care is still lacking for many who are unable to find a primary care physician with an open practice, or who wait months for their first appointment.

Newstrust, which is very impressive in its reviews of many topics, demonstrates an unevenness of reviews that is comparable to the extreme variability of journalism.

All this points to the need to improve science education. A true understanding of the scientific method, added to an improved understanding of the workings of the human body and the human mind, should lead to improved journalism and improved reviews in the area of health and health care.

My experience on Newstrust last week was also colored by difficulties in posting stories, including a frustrating difficulty in finding two of the stories I posted: the troubling story on McCain's melanoma and an interesting analysis of the difficulties in training and keeping sufficient numbers of primary care physicians. Even though the melanoma story was posted within a week, it did not appear when I searched the Health articles, specifying that I wanted all stories within a week, or even within a month. And no amount of questioning the Newstrust powers-that-be ever changed the situation, which I found extremely frustrating.

All in all, it was an interesting week.

P.S. Why is the story "Examining America's presidential candidates" listed as a health care story, when it discusses economists' favorable reactions to Obama's economic plans as compared to McCain's?

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