NPR Disputes WebMD on Heart Attacks

After my last post raving about the WebMD article telling me sex and exercise (isn’t one a sub-set of the other, or am I doing it wrong?) would boost my risk of heart attacks slightly, it’s rather interesting to see the way NPR spun the same study.

Infrequent Sex, Exercise May Raise Risk Of Heart Attack

Crank up the Enigma and the Barry White…it’s time to decrease my risk of heart attacks….

WebMD Increases My Risk of a Heart Attack…But Only Slightly

I used to like WebMD. Back in the heady, wild west days of the Internet, I felt like they were a reliable source for health information. So when my insurance plan came bundled with all of these WebMD resources, I thought, “Kewl! I’ll get some extra information resources from a reliable source about health.” HA!

They seem to have lost the journalistic standards that made them one of my favorite sites back in my naive days of starry-eyed Internet newb-ness.

Take for example, one of today’s headlines:

“Exercise, Sex Can Boost Heart Attack Risk”

OMG! I must become a monk, take my vow of celibacy, and sit and meditate in a relaxed position all day!

But wait, read on into the first sentence and you discover that the risk is “small and transient”. Then why report on it?! I guess page views are more important than alarming or confusing people about their health.

More and more I find headlines like that in my RSS feed from WebMD, and more and more when I click on them I find that kind of “World ending! Tune in at 11.” style of journalism. I guess health isn’t science anymore. It’s just a source of pumping out a lot of stories.

It’s enough to give me a heart attack.