Researchers to study media coverage of 'overdiagnosis' tests

Researchers from Australia plan to explore media coverage of the benefits and harms of medical testing that they believe may lead to overdiagnosis in healthy individuals, according to a protocol published online on 24 August in BMJ Open.

Dr. Mary O'Keeffe from the University of Sydney and colleagues will investigate media coverage of the following five tests:

  • 3D mammography for the early detection of breast cancer
  • Blood liquid biopsy for the early detection of cancer
  • Blood biomarker tests for the early detection of dementia
  • Artificial intelligence technology for the early detection of dementia
  • The Apple Watch Series 4 electrocardiogram sensor for the early detection of atrial fibrillation

The researchers will use Google News and the LexisNexis and ProQuest electronic databases to identify media coverage of these tests between January 2016 and May 2019, and they will include stories that refer to any benefits or harms of the tests.

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