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The Pill and Gaining Muscle

Rating

0 Star

The Pill and Gaining Muscle

Our Review Summary

While ostensibly about the impact birth control pill use had on muscle mass development, the segment failed to provide information about the degree to which muscle development was affected. The benefit of the treatment, mentioned in the very opening of the piece, was avoidance of a baby-bump. The story did not include any information about how successful ‘the pill’ is at baby-bump prevention. The story then went on to talk about other potential side effects from the use of birth control pills and other potential harms that one ought to discuss with one’s doctor. However – no attempt was made to enlighten viewers about what they might be.

All in all, a vague and vapid piece.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There was no discusion of cost. While the main subject of the piece was about a negative effect, since there was also discussion about benefits, cost would seem to be germane to the discussion.

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

Not Satisfactory

The benefit of the treatment, mentioned in the very opening of the piece, was avoidance of a baby-bump. The story did not include any information about how successful ‘the pill’ is at baby-bump prevention.

In addition, air time was spent explaining that ‘the pill’ decreased the risk for ovarian/uterine cancer. However viewers were not provided with information about how common these cancers were or the extent to which their risk was diminished for individuals who take the pill. So it was not possible to watch this segment and gain insight about how valuable this benefit might be.

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

Not Satisfactory

The medical correspondent mentioned that there were lots of risk-benefits from the use of this treatment and that "people need to know about them". However – no attempt was made to enlighten viewers about what they might be.

The story appeared to be about how ‘the pill’ could interfere with development of muscle mass. However – other than informing viewers that they could still increase muscle mass when taking ‘the pill’ if they only worked harder – it failed to provide viewers with an idea of the extent to which mucle mass development might be compromised.

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

Not Satisfactory

The medical correspondent explained to the interviewer that the information she was discussing involved the results of a new study. However there was no attempt to provide information about the nature of the study or the availabilty of the results of the study so that viewers might be able to assess the significance of the new information.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

"Fighting the battle of the bulge" – is this a feared medical condition? And were they talking about added weight or a failure to build additional muscle mass? As the story failed to provide any sort of quantification of how much added ‘bulge’ might be anticipated based on the use of birth control pills, this could be construed as disease mongering.

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

Not Satisfactory

We can’t be sure what the sources were. No one was interviewed. Only a talking-head TV doc appearing in the studio.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

While recommending a time consuming conversation with one’s doctor, this piece did not include information about treatment options.

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

Not Satisfactory

While it is true that birth control pills are commonly refered to as ‘the pill’, it would seem necessary to actually specify that the story was about birth control pills. As much as our reviewers scrutinize health care news every day, we had to think twice or thrice before really understanding that the piece was about oral contraceptives. And although an on-screen graphic provided a glimpse of packaging for one month’s worth of birth control pills, the story actually never stated what type of pill it was about. It wasn’t clear whether the story was about a morning after pill or a birth control pill – nor was it clear whether the pill in question was available over the counter or by prescription.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

Hard to say how the story described the noveltly of the treatment. On one hand – we the viewer are so familar with the pill that we all are assumed to know it without even mentioning its name. On the other hand, as there are different formulations of birth control pills available – it is difficult to know if the story was about one that is new or one that has been available for years.

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

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure what the story relied on for information. (The ‘study’ discussed was actually a presentation at a recent meeting of the American Physiological Society)

Total Score: 0 of 8 Satisfactory

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