This short story about a small study doesn’t offer readers much of the necessary context to judge the significance of this potentially new treatment for tennis elbow.
We would have liked to have seen information on costs and the potential risks of the treatment. The story could have benefited from a deeper analysis of the evidence and from the use of some independent experts.
We wonder if this was rushed onto the web because there were a number of copy errors:
Even when writing about a topic as seemingly mundane as tennis elbow, stories should avail themselves of a broad range of expertise. Were this treatment to become widely available, it could be a boon for chronic pain sufferers, but we can’t make that assessment based on the limited amount of information provided here.
The story made no mention of costs. Given that platelet-rich plasma already is being used for a variety of conditions, including tennis elbow, it would not have been difficult to get a range of costs. A basic Google search reveals a number of sources declaring that insurance plans do not typically cover plasma injections. This all would have been good information for the story.
The benefits are essentially quantified, but we thought the story could have gone further in helping readers understand what the numbers mean.
There’s no attempt to quantify harms here. After reading this story, one might assume that there’s nothing risky about this procedure.
The story does say that the study was in 28 patients, but that’s about all the information readers are given about the potential limitations of the study.
The story nicely avoids disease mongering and, right in the lead, explains that this treatment would work best in patients "where other treatment methods have failed".
The story only relied on a single source.
The story mentions alternatives, which is why we give it credit here. It could have done a better job explaining why all other treatment methods should be exhausted, short of surgery, before turning to plasma injections.
The true novelty is never established.
The story does not rely on a news release.