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Study: Ginkgo biloba has no effect on Alzheimer’s, dementia


4 Star

Study: Ginkgo biloba has no effect on Alzheimer’s, dementia

Our Review Summary

In fewer words than its HealthDay competitor (404 words vs. 740), this story did a slightly better job on providing context and balance.


Why This Matters

Americans spend about $100 million a year on this stuff.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story states that US sales for the product hit $99 million in 2008.  But it never explained the cost to the individual.

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


The study "found no effect," the story states succinctly.

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


The story said the researchers found the product to be safe.  But it could have mentioned that the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine states "Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. More severe allergic reactions have occasionally been reported."

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


Although the discussion was brief, it did refer to the study as "properly designed" and "placebo controlled."

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


There was no disease-mongering of dementia or cognitive decline.

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


3 short quotes with different perspectives, presented in balance.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

In a story based on a study that pokes holes in some peoples’ beliefs about a product to prevent cognitive decline, there could have been at least one line about other research into cognitive decline.

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


The widespread use of the product is clear in the story.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story states that the product has been in use for more than 500 years.

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

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure of the extent to which the story was influenced by a news release.  it apparently did lift one quote from a news release/statement.

Total Score: 7 of 9 Satisfactory


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