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More teens undergoing weight-loss surgery

Rating

2 Star

More teens undergoing weight-loss surgery

Our Review Summary

This story reported on a clinical trial of gastric banding in adolescents.  The story didn’t provide a framework for viewers to understand the pros and cons that a patient should factor into their decision about weight loss surgery. Without information about realistic expectations for amount of weight that can be predicted to be lost, the essential component of limiting caloric intake to achieve any weight loss at all, and the possible harms that have been documented to occur as a result of the procedure, it is impossible for a viewer to make good use of the information provided about the trial at this time. The story didn’t provide any context for how this procedure fits within the framework of weight loss treatments for the adolescent population. The story could have made it clear that this device is currently approved for use in adults, and the study is simply trying to determine if it is safe and effective for adolescents.

Costs weren’t discussed.  And the story said that those who had the surgery had "few side effects."  How few is few?  And what kind? 

These are the kinds of questions viewers need answered.   

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no mention of costs.

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

Not Satisfactory

Although this broadcast did provide the weight loss information for one patient (who went from 250 to 145 lbs) and experienced a self-assessed improvement in social interactivity, it failed to quantify for the viewers a reasonable benefit to expect from the treatment.

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

Not Satisfactory

Other than at the end of the piece, where the reporter mentioned that there were "few side effects" in this clinical trial, there was no mention of the harms associated with the gastric banding procedure. What does "few side effects" mean?  How few? What kind? 

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

Not Satisfactory

There was no evidence presented about amount or maintenance of weight loss following gastric banding or how this might compare to other approaches to weight loss. This is a story about a device undergoing an initial FDA trial. There is very little evidence on this, but they could have presented what is available. And they should have noted how little is known about the device in this population.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

There was no disease mongering about obesity.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story included interviews with a surgeon involved in the clinical trial and with an apparently independent bariatric surgeon. But the story failed to mention sources of funding for the study, or whether the the surgeon interviewed has potential conflicts of interest.  No perspective is provided about why this might not be a good idea.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of treatment options; the story should have mentioned alternative treatment approaches for this age group.

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

Satisfactory

This piece discussed a weight loss surgical procedure used for an adolescent in the context of an FDA-approved clinical. Though this might imply something to a viewer about the general availability of this procedure for people in this age group, it should have been clearer about this.

However, there was no mention about whether or not institutions not participating in the clincial trial would do the procedure in this age group of patients; there was no discussion about what made such a trial an important thing to conduct.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

Although this was a story about the use of a specific weight loss surgery in a new population in which it is currently being assessed, this broadcast did not really provide any context for how this procedure fits within the framework of weight loss treatments for the adolescent population. The story could have made it clear that this device is currently approved for use in adults, and the study is simply trying to determine if it is safe and effective for adolescents.

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

Satisfactory

Does not appear to rely solely or largely on a news release, as there is a second source interviewed.

Total Score: 3 of 10 Satisfactory

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