A “peanut patch” eliminates allergic reactions to small amounts of peanut protein in about half of the participants in an experimental study presented at a conference. While the overall story is solid, we think it’s important to notify readers of the limited peer review that such conference presentations receive. We offer a primer on this topic here.
This story takes as a given that the drug being discussed is 92% effective for preventing HIV infections. Exploring that statistic would have uncovered some fundamental concerns about the value of this treatment approach.
Our review offers a few suggestions for how this story could have been improved, but honestly, we couldn’t come up with much.
This story carefully characterized the participants enrolled in a Pfizer-sponsored smoking cessation study that involved the drug Chantix. And for that reason, we’d give it a slight edge over a competing New York Times piece on the same study. Both stories were well written and delivered a useful summary of the research.
This was an informative and engaging summary in which we were pleased to see cost information — a feature missing from a competing Reuters story. But we think the headline could mislead readers about the true scope of the drug’s potential benefits.
Despite earning a three-star score, this story didn’t meet our standard for key elements of our criteria. Read the full review for suggestions on how the story could have done better.
Another surgical technology story that is long on hypothetical benefits, but short on evidence, quantification, and harms. News organizations owe it to their readers to examine these issues more thoroughly.
A new study has cast doubt on the proposed benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. Using the results as a jumping off point, this story skeptically assesses the evidence and explores concerns about the alcohol/heart health hypothesis.
This is a thorough look at the pros and cons of taking certain drugs that have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The five stars are well deserved.
Strong where it counts, this FiveThirtyEight story does a fine job of explaining the research on “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” in simple, clear terms. A couple of minor additions would’ve completed the picture for readers.