Alzheimer’s drug promising? Page 1. Alzheimer’s drug not so promising? Page B12

Not sure how STAT played this on their site. In the the print version of The Boston Globe, it ran it on A1 Thursday

Hopes rise again for a drug to slow Alzheimer’s disease

File Oct 30, 9 54 16 AM

The follow-up in today’s print edition ran on B12, with this headline: Interpreting an Alzheimer’s trial.

Have yet to find in on the Globe web site, but here’s the STAT version, with their headline.

Here’s why Biogen lost $7 billion overnight despite ‘positive’ Alzheimer’s data



The health press releases that go straight to the junk folder. Some good ideas with no Boston link. Lots of true junk!

The exclamation point is a red flag.

Editors tell freelance writers to read the publication before pitching a stories. I guess the stakes are lower for PR email blasts. Below find a sample from senders the BHN directs to the trash. A few good ones get caught up in the screen.

(Here’s some help on how to write a good press release.)

A selection from the past week.




Health sites evolve as and split up property

ssNow that and have gotten divorced, don’t expect to see Globe bylines on health page. The health blogs don’t seem to be over there anymore either. But, it’s a beta site and we hear they are still dividing the property.

Chelsea Conaboy, who did a nice job with both White Coat Notes and her reporting, has departed to Portland. She still lives on the page if you’ve bookmarked it, but it looks a tad neglected —  no links to it and last post was April 4.  And no sign over there of Daily Dose, which still lives on the  Click on the old link and you get a empty page telling you it has moved. Find posts from Deborah Kotz here for now.

With the divorce, came a crack in the paywall. Non-subscribers can get 10 stores per month for free, where you can still read the Globe’s strong health and science reporting.  That is if you can find the health page. There is no link or crumb on the home page — click on “News”  to get to it.

All is still free on, where you’ll find substantial wires stories mixed in with aggregation, links and listicles. It is what it is. We know much of this is temporary and evolving. We wish them well.

Along with a lot of meaty wire copy, here’s some of the lighter fare they are serving up today:

  • Do and don’t (grilling)  with a quiz – Which burger to eat, the red one or the brown one. Links to the Hearth Patio and Barbeque Association
  • Five simple ways (to be sane)  
  • 9 travel snacks
  • 2-time cancer survivor plans to run marathon. 
  • Tootht tattoos are real



Therapeutic misconception: Reporting on the Cape Cod clinical trial participant

images nihA WBUR host on fundraising duty this morning talked about how NIH has figured out a way around the federal shutdown to get a so-called life-saving treatment to a Cape Cod man in a drug study.

The fact is, if you are in a clinical trial, no one can promise that you are getting a life-saving drug. The purpose of a clinical trial is to prove or disprove that experimental drugs are life saving.

The patient on the Cape is in a study to test whether a drug approved for thyroid cancer  will work on his metastatic bile duct cancer. For him, it’s hope. But it’s research. The “therapeutic misconception” is the notion that clinical trials offer  teatment. In randomized trials, you’re not even guaranteed to get a drug — you might get a placebo.

A researcher from the psychiatry department at UMass Medical puts it this way: “The therapeutic misconception occurs when a research subject fails to appreciate the distinction between the imperatives of clinical research and of ordinary treatment, and therefore inaccurately attributes therapeutic intent to research procedures. The therapeutic misconception is a serious problem for informed consent in clinical research.”

The Globe:

Cape Cod man’s last-chance treatment for cancer…father of three is now unlikely to receive an experimental drug 

.. cabozantinib, a drug approved for thyroid cancer but still experimental to treat other cancers….

expected to be treated in research studies over the next few weeks. via from AP :

NIH director Francis Collins told the Associated Press that each week the shutdown continues, the NIH hospital will have to turn away 200 patients, 30 of them children, seeking to enroll in new studies—often for last-resort treatments after they’ve exhausted all other options.

Just saying.