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Read Original Story

Electromagnetic Pulses May Stem Arthritic Knee Pain

Rating

0 Star

Electromagnetic Pulses May Stem Arthritic Knee Pain

Our Review Summary

We’re really not reviewing a story here.  We’re reviewing a byproduct of a news release.  In fact, the hospital news release upon which this is based was actually better. 

 

Why This Matters

Journalism should lose credibility for simply shoveling on unvetted hospital news release claims. 

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Described as "relatively low-cost in the long run" in the words of a researcher.  But what does that mean?  No dollar figures given.

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

Not Satisfactory

No explanation of how "pain relief" was measured.  No discussion of results in sham device comparison group.  No discussion of the limitations of drawing conclusions from a small (34 people) short-term (six weeks) trial.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story says "the approach has no side effects."  No discussion of whether that statement is based solely on this trial in just 34 people – and, if so, how limited are the conclusions that can be drawn from a study of just 34 people.

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

Not Satisfactory

Inadequate.  No explanation of how the active devices were tested against sham devices.  Therefore, no discussion of whether there was any placebo effect in sham device users.  Also no explanation of how "pain relief" was measured or self-reported.  No discussion of the limitations of drawing conclusions from an as-yet non-peer-reviewed study in just 34 people.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

Not applicable because there was really no meaningful discussion of knee arthritis.

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

Not Satisfactory

No independent sources – just quotes from a hospital news release.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No comparison with any of the many approaches to treating arthritic knee pain. Even the hospital news release reminded us that "Current treatments include drug therapies like anti-inflammatory medication or pain relievers; physical therapy; support devices; health and behavioral modifications such as weight loss; surgery and joint replacement." But the story didn’t.

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

Not Satisfactory

There is no explanation of whether the device is experimental, on the market, and, if so, where or how widely available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion comparing this approach with the myriad other devices tested through the years for pian of knee arthritis.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story admits that a hospital news release is its main source.  The quotes come directly from the news release.  There was apparently no independent reporting.

Total Score: 0 of 9 Satisfactory

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