Posted by Gary Schwitzer in Health care journalism
It took The Daily Telegraph of the UK nearly 200 words and 8 sentences to get around to explaining that the headline above pertained to a study conducted in mice.
And when the story did get around to it, here’s how it was reported:
“Although the study was conducted in mice, researchers are confident it would work in humans and are hopeful that human trials will begin soon.
“This helps your own immune system fight off the cancer better. The good guys win. And it seems to work on all cancers,” said (the) study co-leader.”
It’s difficult to play the cheerleader role any stronger than that.
Even though human trials haven’t even begun, researchers are confident it will work. Hey, why even bother with the trials then?
And the researcher quote makes a direct reference to helping “your own immune system fight off the cancer better.” Your immune system. Not the mice in the study. Yours.
And to top it all off, they let the researcher get away – unchallenged – with making claims of efficacy against ALL cancers.
If you didn’t see my post from a few days ago about the BMJ piece, “How predictive and productive is animal research?“, this would be a good time to read it to become re-grounded in the reality of how far is the leap between most animal research and most human applications.
Read the reader comments left online at the end of the Telegraph story for evidence of how people are being turned off by this kind of journalism. We’re not giving them what they need when we shovel this kind of stuff at them daily. Examples of reader sentiment:
Have some consideration you rat-bag headline seekers!”
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