Competition between “cure” and “breakthrough” on MS story — in mice

A paper in the journal Nature Communications reported on a mouse study of a condition similar to multiple sclerosis.

Mice.  And mice only.

But look at how it was reported.  There was competition betweenhow many stories would claim “breakthrough” versus how many would claim “cure.”

The Daily Express in the UK:  “Could a cure for MS and diabetes be on the way?

Catholic Online posted, “British researchers may have just found the cure for multiple sclerosis!”  Exclamation mark, indeed!

Some of the breakthrough headlines:

The breakthrough talk was clearly driven by a news release from the University of Bristol, home of the research. The news release called the work “an important breakthrough.” (Is there such thing as an “unimportant breakthrough”?)

And many of the stories seemed to be based solely on the news release.  Yet they injected “hope for millions” into the story, something that was not in the news release.  One story called it “one of the biggest medical announcements of the year” – with no independent perspective to back that up.  So it apparently was the conclusion of the journalist.



Why does this matter?  Someone wrote on my Facebook page, “I saw many people on MS forums excited, thinking this could be used tomorrow in clinics.”  It’s not something that can be used tomorrow.  It may never lead to any treatment.


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