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January 19, 2018 | News Release Review

Memory, learning benefits from adding prebiotics to infant formula – for piglets

The headline of this release needs two additional words: “in pigs.”

2 Star

Prebiotics in infant formula could improve learning and memory and alter brain chemistry.

January 18, 2018 | Story Review

‘It’s unknown whether treatment increases survival,’ AP wisely notes about new breast cancer drug

However, the story reports mainly from news releases, misses some important study limitations, and doesn’t include independent voices.

3 Star

US OKs 1st drug aimed at women with inherited breast cancer

January 18, 2018 | News Release Review

Recap of study on weight-loss surgery strengthened by transparency on limitations

The news release is very clear that this is an observational study with several limitations.

3 Star

Weight-loss surgery associated with lower rate of death

January 16, 2018 | Story Review

HealthDay’s piece on ‘bone cement’ doesn’t hold together

When it comes to an up-and-coming procedure like this, it’s buyer beware.

1 Star

'Bone Cement': A Non-Surgical Option for Painful Joints?

January 16, 2018 | News Release Review

Small studies belie Boston Scientific’s claims about safety and effectiveness of spinal cord stimulation

One of the studies enrolled just 33 patients, but 10 of those did not have an adequate response to the device. Final results aren’t available from the other study mentioned.

2 Star

Boston Scientific Receives U.S. FDA Approval for Spectra WaveWriter™ Spinal Cord Stimulator System

January 12, 2018 | Story Review

Stem cells for knee problems: WSJ doesn’t explore costs, harms, alternatives

The story does well in giving some background regarding stem cells, and highlighting how this is a growing trend with not a lot of evidence.

3 Star

Stem Cells for Knee Problems? U.S. Doctors Investigate

January 11, 2018 | News Release Review

Vague summary hints at ‘selective cancer treatment’ using stinging nettles, but the trial was in a test tube

The problems with this release lie in what it does not say. Readers aren’t told, for example, that the compound hasn’t even been tested in animals yet.

2 Star

Cancer targeted with reusable 'stinging nettle' treatment

January 11, 2018 | Story Review 2

NPR’s story on weight loss surgery in teens: Cost info would have improved a well-reported story

The story did a good job describing the study, the potential harms of the intervention, and limitations to the findings.

4 Star

Bariatric Surgery Helps Teens With Severe Obesity Reduce Heart Disease Risk

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Our team of reviewers applies 10 standardized criteria to news stories that include claims about health care interventions. ~2,000 reviews published.

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We systematically evaluate the quality of health care-related news releases by journals, medical centers, drug/device makers, others.

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Wide-ranging exploration of issues in journalism, journal publishing, health care PR, advertising and marketing. Some opinions - publisher Gary Schwitzer's & others'.

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