Medical Journals Under the Microscope

New studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association have found problems in medical journals involving biases and conflicts of interest. Other problems originate in news releases put out by the journals themselves, which routinely fail to mention study limitations or industry funding and may exaggerate the importance of findings. Dr. Lisa Schwartz, the author of one of the studies, says part of the problem is journalists who are too quick to publish stories based on preliminary scientific work in progress, which may only involve small numbers of human subjects or be based solely on animal or laboratory studies.