Back and forth this story goes:
Using the word "also" in that last quote implies that some other beneficial effect has already been established in this study and story.
This was petri dish research. "Intriguing," as the Cancer Society expert said. But it’s difficult to say much more. Yet this story was republished by BusinessWeek, health.msn.com, and other news organizations!
If journalists were going to report about every agent that looked effective against cancer cells in a petri dish, they wouldn’t have room to publish anything else. Is there an editorial policy in place? Will ALL such stories be reported?
Costs weren’t mentioned. It took us only a few seconds to find out how much this stuff is sold for online.
Potential benefits were exaggerated far beyond what this laboratory-only research showed. Again, the story stated:
Also? No human benefit was proven in this story!
Not applicable. You can’t talk about harms from an agent that’s only been tested in a petri dish. But, then again, you really can’t say much at all. Yet they made a news story out of this.
The story does inject a few caveats about the study:
But it didn’t give any context for how many other agents have looked good in the lab but failed to pan out in animals much less humans. Instead, it played editorial ping pong with readers, because it also stated:
Not applicable because there really wasn’t any meaningful discussion of breast cancer.
One independent source was quoted.
The story included the American Cancer Society expert’s recommendations for breast cancer prevention.
The story states that bitter melon extract is a popular nutritional supplement and is a common vegetable in India, China and South America.
There’s been a lot of research for a long time on bitter melon extract. We quickly found one study from as far back as 1983. The story didn’t provide any of that context.
The story did include a comment from an American Cancer Society expert, so it doesn’t appear to rely solely on a news release.