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The Cutting Edge: Amazing Journey Inside the Brain

Rating

2 Star

The Cutting Edge: Amazing Journey Inside the Brain

Our Review Summary

Brain disorders such as brain tumors, dementia and epilepsy are common and vexing health problems. Advances in imaging have helped identify these problems earlier and in some cases, such as certain kinds of stroke, finding these problems fast and treating them appropriately can significantly improve outcomes. This story reports on an experimental new kind of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that uses special coils to get higher quality pictures of the brain than was previously possible with traditional MRI.

However, the story does not describe the cost of the device, or of MRIs in general. The story also assumes insurance will cover it without providing any justification for this claim. Nor does the story quantify the benefits (known or unknown) of the device. The story also does not mention any harms of the device. While MRIs are very safe, the story could have mentioned that the device may find small abnormalities that would never go on to cause a problem, potentially leading to unnecessary treatments.

While the story does not exaggerate the seriousness of brain disorders such as brain tumors, seizure disorders and dementia, it does repeatedly exaggerate how well they could potentially respond to early detection and treatment. The story reports that this device "produces much clearer and faster images of the brain that could someday save your life." In reality, unfortunately, it isn’t clear at all that any of the conditions mentioned in the story can actually be helped.

The story could have been improved by quoting more experts. The story only quotes one expert – Bruce Rosen – who is biased because he is invested in the development of the device.

Most importantly,  the story does not comment on the available evidence to support the use of the device. The story provides one case study of a patient with seizures but this is not adequate information for the viewer. Furthermore, the story makes many claims that the device can help better treat many brain conditions, however it is not clear that early detection can do anything for certain disorders such as dementia.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not describe the cost of the device, or of MRIs in general. The story also assumes insurance will cover it without providing any justification.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not quantify the benefits of the device nor does it comment on the lack of data available to be able to quantify the benefits.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story mentions no harms of the device. While MRIs are very safe, the story could have mentioned that the device may find small abnormalities that would never go on to cause a problem, potentially leading to unnecessary treatments.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not comment on the available evidence to support the use of the device. The story provides one case study of a patient with seizures but this is not adequate information for the viewer. Furthermore, the story makes many claims that the device can help better treat many brain conditions, however it is not clear that early detection can do anything for certain disorders such as dementia.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

While the story does not exaggerate the seriousness of brain disorders such as brain tumors, seizure disorders and dementia, it does repeatedly exaggerate how well they respond to early detection and treatment. The story reports that this device "produces much clearer and faster images of the brain that could someday save your life." In reality, unfortunately, it isn’t clear at all that any of the conditions mentioned in the story can actually be helped.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story quotes only one expert – Bruce Rosen – who is biased because he is involved in developing the technology.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story mentions other imaging tests as the alternative – standard MRIs and CT scans.

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

Satisfactory

The story mentions that the device is not currently available but should be in the next few years. The story should have provided more justification for this claim.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story accurately represents the novelty of the device.

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: 3 of 9 Satisfactory

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