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From dance to treadmills, exercise may aid Parkinson’s Disease

Rating

1 Star

From dance to treadmills, exercise may aid Parkinson’s Disease

Our Review Summary

This story on the possible benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease does not provide information in a context that allows the reader to evaluate the claims made. Though the anecdotal stories are positive, they are not in a context with a framework to allow to judge how generalizable these stories are. Where are the data? Where is the evidence? Examples of benefit are presented in very general terms (walked a little faster, fewer falls) without any frame of reference for the magnitude of improvement or whether the change was statically or clinically significant. A National Institutes of Health conference was briefly mentioned. What came out of it? This article lacks focus and makes suggestions without background or context.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No mention of the costs associated with the type of physical therapy discussed or whether such therapy is covered by insurance or Medicare.

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

Not Satisfactory

Examples of benefit are presented in very general terms (walked a little faster, fewer falls) without any frame of reference for the magnitude of improvement or whether the change was statically or clinically significant.

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

Not Satisfactory

One expert is quoted saying, “But in general, the kind of exercise we’re talking about is certainly not going to hurt.” But suggestions for incorporating techniques such as walking backwards would seemingly come with some risk, especially in an unsupervised location.

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

Not Satisfactory

While mentioning a conference at the National Institutes of Health and other ‘evidence’ in the piece, the story does not provide sufficient detail that would allow assessment of the information. The strength of the evidence is called into question when quotes include comments like ‘still hope that we can slow down or stop’, finding ‘signals of improvement’ or even positing that ‘even more advanced patients might benefit’ without data in hand.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

The natural history of Parkinson’s or its variability are not presented

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

Not Satisfactory

Only one investigator is quoted. The story mentions an NIH meeting without any details that would allow a reader to learn more.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

Ideas about exercise modalities (dance, treadmills) are presented, but information about medications or devices used in the treatment of Parkinson’s is lacking

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

Though presented as something new (“the notion is gaining such ground”) there is a literature about the use of exercise and physical movement in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease that dates back at least to the 1960’s.

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

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied solely on a news release.

Total Score: 1 of 9 Satisfactory

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