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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

Contraindications: Dr. Lawrence James Williamson

Every doctor is entitled to a bad day, even a bad week.

Dr. Lawrence James Williamson (California License No. 73495), a family doctor in Windsor, Calif., has been having a very bad year.

In May 2008, Williamson was told he was not entitled to what he apparently thought was a free brunch at a Las Vegas hotel. He did something many denied a free meal have considered doing. He threw a fit, according to the Medical Board of California.

Oprah sells mind-body snake oil to the masses

The June 8 edition of Newsweek has a must-read story about the world's most influential celebrity.

Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert meticulously detail how Oprah Winfrey uses her show, her magazine and her Web site as a platform for some completely loony health advice, including needle-and-thread facelifts, avoiding vaccines, daily hormone injections into the vagina to stop aging and thinking positively as an alternative to surgery.

Q&A with Gary Schwitzer: People need fewer hot fudge sundaes in their health report

Gary Schwitzer is the professor that health reporters fear. With the creation of HealthNewsReview, he has brought back nightmares of having your work marked up in red and posted on a corkboard for everyone to see.

Dirty hands do the devil’s business

A story today out of Nigeria had me thinking about my interview with Father William Cleary last month.

Contraindications: Dr. Michael Charles Edwards

When choosing doctors, people like to know the answers to a few basic questions.

"Do they have the right amount of experience?"

"Are they conveniently located?"

"Do they accept my insurance?"

Somewhere above, "Do they stock Popular Mechanics in the lobby?" and below "Did they go to medical school?" might be these questions:

"Do they abuse drugs?"

"Are they honest?"

Anecdotal evidence: Little details make a huge difference in story examples

Don't you want to help this woman out?

Renata Celona lost both of her parents at a young age, victims of high blood pressure, the second leading preventable cause of death.

She checks her blood pressure at least once a day, avoids salt and tries to squeeze in trips to the gym between working two jobs and raising three kids on her own.

"I tell my kids that I am always going to be there for them," Celona, 47, says. "Even if I can't always pick them up from school, they know I will be tucking them into bed at night."

Q&A with Mark Katches: Editor breaks reporting down to the chemical level

Mark Katches is the deputy managing editor for projects at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He leads a team of reporters who have been watch-dogging the use of chemicals in food containers and other products for the past two years.

Contraindications: Dr. Iraj Derakhshan

When does it make sense to tamper with a time-released medication? If the drug is a controlled substance, like the painkiller OxyContin, the answer is: never.

Doing so damages the time-released properties of the drug and can lead to a massive dose all at once. This is what makes OxyContin such a great high for people who crush it, and such a long, painful addiction for them, too.

Failing the Dead: Medical Examiners Don’t Use DNA to Track Missing Persons

It's a common complaint among police officers. In the wake of television shows like CSI, the public expects too much. They think that cops can lift a 30-year-old fingerprint off a Pabst Blue Ribbon bottle found at the bottom of a lake just by running it through the portable 30-PBR-H2O scanner the CSI team members carry in their Thermoses.

That type of technology just doesn't exist, police are fond of saying. And even some of the high-tech stuff that does exist is only accessible by the elite officers of the major metropolitan departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Q&A with Marge Ginsburg: What We Talk About When We Talk About Health Care

The Center for Healthcare Decisions has given itself a tough task. Its staff tries to bring together people from different economic brackets and get them to talk in very specific terms about all facets of health care.



We've opened recruitment for our all-expenses-paid 2016 California Health Journalism Fellowship, to be held in Los Angeles March 6-10, 2016. Apply now for a $1,000 reporting grant and five days of information-packed seminars, workshops and field trips on California's health care challenges. Click here for details.

We’ve grown considerably since we began in 2004 at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism, and we’re thrilled to announce we now have a new name and new look for our website, formerly known as Reporting on Health.


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