This 627 word story attempts to summarize a 404 word abstract submitted at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. In doing so, it fails to meet even the most simple requirements. The story fails to note the "study" was a retrospective review of patients and not a prospective trial, fails to discuss confounding variables such as additional treatments for psoriasis and fails to describe the methodological issues associated with the use of non-validated single observer measurement of outcome. While the story includes some attempts to temper the enthusiasm expressed in the headline, it does so inadequately.
The headline and beginning of this story are overly enthusiastic about a long stream of potential benefits from statins. Stories shouldn’t lump all of this together because the evidence is quite variable and, in this case, quite weak.
There was no discussion of costs.
The study reported on failed to find a statistically significant improvement in psoriasis. Despite this, the story headline, first sentence and overall tenor report about benefit even though this is inappropriate given the study results.
The story failed to note any of the potential side effects of statins.
While acknowledging that the results reported on were based on a preliminary study and mentioning that the benefit observed was not statistically significant, the rest of the wording of the story was misleading. The opening line is just plain wrong: "Once again, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have been shown to be good for more than the heart." NO, they haven’t. Not in this study.
The story did not engage in overt disease mongering.
Independent sources were used to write this story; there was, however, no information about sources of funding for this research.
This story was about the possibility that statin medications have a role for improving psoriasis. The story did mention that examining whether statins improve psoriasis in the absence of high cholesterol was one area to be explored. There was no discussion of other medications or medication combinations that may be under study to treat psoriasis and there was no mention of the lack of controls in the retrospective study reported on.
While statins are in widespread use, the story never emphasized that statins are not approved for treating psoriasis.
The story clealry indicated that it was reporting about a potential for a new benefit that might be associated with the use of statin medications.
Does not appear to rely exclusively on a news release.