Tag Archives: Gary Schwitzer

The concept of ‘mansplaining’ explained for you . . .

12 Oct

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Regular readers already know how in love I am with the “Just a Little Heart Attack” film from the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women heart health campaign this year. In three short minutes, this film manages to do what countless other heart disease awareness campaigns I’ve seen fail to pull off: to be both hilarious and frightening, packed with life-saving education on common heart attack symptoms in women. The actress Elizabeth Banks – who also directed this short film, and whose real-life mother and sister have heart issues – plays a harried, multi-tasking mother trying desperately to get her family up, dressed, fed and ready to head out the door on time, all while completely ignoring her own worsening heart attack symptoms.

Elizabeth gets every small detail of this scenario pitch-perfect, including:

  • her “I’m fine!” reassurances as she reels with nausea, chest pressure, dizziness, jaw pain, neck pain, arm pain, weakness and profuse sweating
  • her apology to the 911 phone dispatcher for being a bother
  • and (my favourite scene!) her abject dismay at surveying the messy kitchen, knowing the ambulance is already en route and she won’t have time to tidy up before it arrives!

Women who have actually lived through this will probably recognize every excruciatingly familiar moment of what it’s like to experience a heart attack.

But noted health journalism watchdog Gary Schwitzer over at Health News Review felt otherwise about this film, which he criticized in a post called Disease-Mongering Du Jour: Heart Disease in Young Women.   Continue reading

Too good to be true: chubby thighs better for heart health?

8 Sep

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It was almost enough to force me right out the door to the nearest Tim Hortons for a couple of gooey Maple Dips. Must make sure that my thighs don’t get too skinny, because Danish researchers have just announced that chubby thighs can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.   Read more to see if this is on the level

Medical journalism watchdog slams cardiac ‘polypill’ news hype

13 Aug

woman reading hanging around

 by Carolyn Thomas  ♥ @HeartSisters

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What news headlines around the world said:

“Single Pill Combining Five Heart Drugs Appears Safe.”

What the journalists said:

“Imagine if people at risk of heart disease could take a single pill that would contain all the medications they need to reduce their heart risk.  Such a pill is already a reality and now new research suggests it’s safe and effective.  It’s called a polypill and could soon become a cheap, simple way to prevent both heart disease and stroke.” CTV News

What journalism watchdog Media Doctor Canada said:

 “This story delivers a hyped conclusion on the basis of very poor evidence, yet it calls this a ‘lifesaving’ drug. The published paper and study results reveal that this was a double-blind study that followed patients for only 12 weeks.  How can this drug be called ‘safe and effective’ if it’s taken over many years?

“The concept of mixing different compounds into one pill is very poor medicine. It doesn’t permit physicians to customize the dose for specific patients depending on the patient’s specific risk factors.”   Continue reading