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She completed a Doctor of Philosophy in medical research at the University of Adelaide and worked for a decade as a research scientist specialising in rheumatoid arthritis research at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
She was awarded the National Press Club of Australia Prizes in 2008 and 2009 for Excellence in Health Journalism.
Demasi produced and presented two controversial episodes of the science program Catalyst (TV program) in October 2013, which questioned the link between cholesterol, cholesterol-reducing medication and ill-health. Some individuals and professional organisations within the medical and scientific community responded to the show negatively and the National Heart Foundation of Australia published a nine page rebuttal of the claims presented in the program. Demasi was accused of journalistic misconduct by ABC's MediaWatch program and received criticism from national newspapers for incomplete and biased coverage of life-threatening health issues. In response to these allegations, Demasi claimed that participants in the program had been presented with her material and agreed with her interpretation. The National Heart Foundation responded, saying that Demasi had not presented the research, ignored and mis-interpreted the information provided, and selectively edited quotes to invert their meaning. In May 2014 the ABC removed the two episodes from its website after an internal review found the second breached ABC standards on impartiality.
- Cathy O'Leary, Medical Editor (2013-11-02). "Patients swamp GPs in anti-cholesterol pill confusion | Health+Medicine". Health.thewest.com.au. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "Sections of the medical community question Catalyst program about cholesterol and heart disease - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "Media Watch: Catalyst challenges the mainstream (11/11/2013)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Peter Martin. "ABC report could cause death, says ABC health specialist". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Peter Clifton (2013-11-06). "Odds of surviving are better with statins". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Peter Martin. "ABC report could cause death, says ABC health specialist". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "PM - Backlash against ABC's Catalyst program questioning heart disease-cholesterol links 31/10/2013". Abc.net.au. 2013-05-04. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "Heart Foundation 'shocked' at ABC decision to run Catalyst program on cholesterol drugs statins - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- "ABC will take down two controversial Catalyst episodes on heart disease". Theage.com.au. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "Catalyst 'Heart of the Matter' Investigation Report". abc.net.au. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
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