This kind of study can’t prove cause-and-effect. No such explanation was given in the story. This study isn’t published, isn’t peer-reviewed yet, and won’t even be presented in a talk at a meeting for two months yet. The story discusses a 40 percent risk reduction. 40 percent of what? From what to what?
How you frame a story is so important. Putting "may stave off Parkinson’s" in the headline, and quoting a doctor who said he would "definitely discuss ibuprofen use" with his patients – without strong caveats – is troubling in this story.
Not applicable. Costs not discussed but most people know that ibuprofen products are inexpensive.
We also continue to be puzzled by the number of stories that use only relative risk reduction figures, not absolute risk reduction figures. We have a brief primer on this topic. The point is that when the story discusses "40 percent lower risk," we need to know 40 percent of what?
The story did at least mention that "persistent use of ibuprofen can lead to gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining."
We continue to be puzzled by the number of stories – like this one – that don’t find a way to at least briefly mention the limitations of some studies. This story, for example, never mentioned that this was a a meta-analysis – a study of previously published studies. Look at how MedPageToday.com published caveats:
No disease mongering of Parkinson’s Disease.
One independent source was quoted. But we’re troubled by the story letting that source get away with saying he would "definitely discuss ibuprofen use" with his patients – because it would be very easy to find other sources who would say it’s far too early to discuss ibuprofen use with their patients. In fact, a MedPageToday.com story stated that the lead researcher himself said "that it’s too early to make any clinical recommendations based on the observational data, which not only need confirmation in prospective trials but also cannot prove causality."
Although the story mentioned that levodopa is the current standard treatment for Parkinson’s, there was no discussion of any other research into prevention of Parkinson’s Disease.
The story states that ibuprofen is a common anti-inflammatory drug.
The story failed to put the new analysis into the context of existing research, as MedPageToday.com did, for example:
One independent source was quoted, so it’s clear the story didn’t rely solely on a news release.