NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.
Read Original Story

Saltwater therapy helps ease cystic fibrosis

Rating

4 Star

Saltwater therapy helps ease cystic fibrosis

Our Review Summary

This is a succinct article outlining an additional treatment that can be used by individuals with cystic fibrosis in additional to their currrent treatment that may help them avoid the serious complications of the disease. While it is clear that this treatment has the potential to provide some benefit, the story’s description of the treatment (a thirty minute session inhaling salt water nearly twice as salty as the ocean) leaves no doubt that this is not an entirely pleasant undertaking. The tradeoff is a decision left to the patients, though testing its benefit in infants may be next step in examining utility of the treatment. The only weaknesses of the story include not making clear how widespread is the availability of the treatment and not making clear these were randomized clinical trials (and why that’s important).

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

An estimate of the treatment cost,

$13/month was obtained from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

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

Satisfactory

The absolute benefit, 41% of those using the treatment avoided complications, is compared with

the 16% of those not using the salt water treatment.

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

Satisfactory

The treatment was noted as having potentially limited benefit because the prospect

of adding an additional 30 minutes of treatment to an already extensive treatment regimen could be a burden. No mention was

made of the small (5%) number of patients using the treatment that experienced adverse events.

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

Not Satisfactory

The article describing the two studies failed to detail the nature of the studies. They were two randomized

clinical trials.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The article explains that cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease and a rare

disorder.

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

Satisfactory

The reporter contacted a clinician from a cystic fibrosis center

that did not appear to have ties to either study. She also included commentsfrom an editorial on the two studies.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The advantage of this treatment is that it may reduce the incidence of some serious

complications of the disease. The article is clear that this treatment does not cure cystic fibrosis and is used in addition

to other therapies, not instead of them.

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

Not Satisfactory

The treatment is available at the centers actually involved

in the studies; comments from a third clinician directing treatment of individuals with cystic fibrosis but not involved in

the studies indicates that use of this treatment has already been picked up by other groups specializing in cystic fibrosis

care. While this could suggest that other groups specializing in cystic fibrosis care might also be offering this treatment,

the actual availability is not clear.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

This article reports on the

use of a novel adjunct treatment in the management of cystic fibrosis

Total Score: 8 of 10 Satisfactory

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.