Patient Dave deBronkart sees it as his responsibility to look for conflicts of interest involved with anyone making health care claims.
Karen Sepucha, PhD, HealthNewsReview.org expert editor
Thumbs Up Examples
Thumbs Down Examples
The story provides many clinical perspectives on the computer-aided detection (CAD) technology. The reporter interviews not only the study author and the author of an accompanying NEJM editorial, but also clinicians and radiologists who talk about use of CAD in practice. Interviews with clinicians who provide their rationale for not using the CAD technology provide excellent balance to the story.
The producers earn extra points for using three well-selected sources:
Most importantly, an independent clinician who does the surgery a lot, considers it useful and isn’t quite sure what to make of the results.
Several independent sources were interviewed for this story. The writer also points out that both trials were paid for by Amgen, the manufacturer of denosumab, and nearly all the researchers were employed by the company or received consulting or advisory fees from them.
While the sourcing favors supporters, the reporter discloses or implies the conflicts of interest the clinic operators have. The two skeptical medical sources are highly credible.
Three different sources fill out this compact story – a spokesperson for the medical society representing the nation’s orthopedists, a spokesperson for knee implant manufacturer Zimmer, and chief of the knee service at one of the busiest joint replacement centers in the world (who has consulted for one of Zimmer’s chief competitor, the story notes) – a balanced group whose potential conflicts readers can judge for themselves.
No individuals with expertise in prostate cancer, prostate cancer treatment, or prostate cancer patients appear to have been interviewed as part of this story.
Interview comments from a single patient without reference to the evidence or perspectives of experts in the field is not first-rate journalism.
The sources for the story are just 2 people – a woman whose facelift successfully relieved her migraines and the surgeon who performs these procedures and wrote the study about facelifts for migraine headaches cited in the story (clearly not a disinterested party). The story fails to represent the points of view of the 43% of people who did not experience migraine pain relief after their facelifts or of experts who could place this research into the much broader context of the migraine literature.
The reporter talks to one source, a man whose job is to sell more of the machines in question.
The only sources contacted for this story are representatives of two companies involved with development of female sexual satisfaction products, including the one studied in the journal report. The viewpoints of independent clinicians and researchers would have been valuable.
The segment draws exclusively on the inventor and three credible but potentially self-interested supporters, one of whom is dead.
This is unsatisfactory: One or more independent cancer researchers should have been interviewed, including one who is currently doing other research with nanoparticles and one expert radiologist.
These sources could have provided necessary context for this history and outcomes of previous promised “breakthroughs,” the implications of novelty and the many things which remain unknown.
The segment should have reported whether the researchers interviewed have a financial or other interest in the procedure.
There are multiple ways to search our reviews. You may search by keyword, news source or review rating.