Health News Review

Even if the American Academy of Pediatrics didn’t quantify benefits and harms in its statement, we still wish news stories about the statement would.

Our Review Summary

Still, this was a reasonable report on the AAP policy statement, emphasizing the role of parents’ shared decision-making on this issue up high in the second sentence.


Why This Matters

Parents still have to make decisions and news stories could help them by providing the best evidence on how large is the scope of potential benefit and how large is the scope of potential harm – actual numbers.


Criteria

Satisfactory

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Cost estimates from CDC are given.

Not Satisfactory

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Benefits were not quantified but listed within the article.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) didn’t quantify the benefits in its policy statement either.  But consumers need to understand how “significant” are the reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection or the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and transmission of other STDs.  Even a simple infographic would have helped.

 

Not Satisfactory

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story included the concerns of some that circumcision “amounts to genital mutilation”  or “causes loss of sexual satisfaction.”

But it didn’t include the AAP’s policy statement excerpt that:

“Complications are infrequent; most are minor, and severe complications are rare.”

Not Satisfactory

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t really describe the process by which the recommendation was developed.

Satisfactory

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story did not commit disease mongering.

Satisfactory

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story included an almost throwaway quote from the author of another recent study on states eliminating Medicaid coverage for circumcision.  And a quote from a psychologist heading an anti-circumcision group. It also briefly touched on AMA and American Academy of Family Physicians’ policies.

Satisfactory

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The alternative is no circumcision, which is clear from the story.

Satisfactory

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story stated that roughly a million procedures are doneeach year in the US but it also described recent declines in US circumcision rates.

The story was very specific in stating that most circumcisions are performed in hospitals by obstetricians or pediatricians.

Satisfactory

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story makes it clear that the AAP has previously issued recommendations on the topic of circumcision and points out that this latest recommendation is a bit contrary to that previously issued.

Satisfactory

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

It’s clear that the story did not rely solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory


We Welcome Comments

But please note: We will delete comments that include personal attacks, unfounded allegations, unverified facts, product pitches, profanity or any from anyone who doesn't list what appears to be an actual email address. We will also end any thread of repetitive comments. We don't give medical advice so we won't respond to questions asking for it. Please see more on our comments policy.