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Read Original Story

Keep an ovary, preserve a brain

Rating

3 Star

Keep an ovary, preserve a brain

Our Review Summary

There is mounting evidence that removing the ovaries early, prior to menopause, increases a woman’s risk of heart disease, fracture, and now, potentially, neurologic deficits. For these women, using estrogen replacement therapy may be beneficial to block these effects as well as treating symptoms. This story reports on the results of a large cohort study showing that women who had their ovaries removed prior to menopause had an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.

This short piece adequately represents the novelty and availability of oophorectomy, sufficiently describes the harms of the procedure and does not engage in disease mongering. However, the story fails to describe the strength of the available evidence, does not quote multiple independent sources and does not describe any alternatives to the surgery.

Most importantly, however, the story does not adequately quantify the harms of oophorectomy. Specifically, the story provides quantification in relative terms only by stating that "surgical removal of the ovaries before menopause raises by half a woman’s risk of neurological problems." What that statement does not show is how rare those neurological problems are. By stating the increased risk in purely relative terms, the story appears to inflate the actual risk. See our primer on absolute versus relative risks.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

Because the story discusses the potential harms of oophorectomy, the cost criterion is not necessarily applicable in this case.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not adequately quantify the harms of oophorectomy. Specifically, the story provides quantification in relative terms only by stating that "surgical removal of the ovaries before menopause raises by half a woman’s risk of neurological problems." What that statement does not show is how rare those neurological problems are. By stating the increased risk in purely relative terms, the story appears to inflate the actual risk. See our primer on absolute versus relative risks.

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

Satisfactory

The story adequately describes the potential harms of oophorectomy, including heart disease, hip fractures and now, potentially, neurological deficits.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not comment at all on the strength of the available evidence.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not appear to engage in diseae mongering.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story only quotes one expert who is the lead author on the study.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not discuss alternatives to oophorectomy.

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

Satisfactory

Clearly, oophorectomy, surgical removal of the ovaries, is available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

Clearly oophorectomy is not a new idea.

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

Not Applicable

There is no way to know if the story relied on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 4 of 8 Satisfactory

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