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Knee Braces Ease Osteoarthritis Pain


1 Star

Knee Braces Ease Osteoarthritis Pain

Our Review Summary

Story about a small study whose results were not put into context comparing with other nonsurgical alternatives for knee osteoarthritis. 


Why This Matters

 It is helpful for people with knee osteoarthritis to know about the range of non-surgical options available to help them manage their condition. However by merely transmitting a media event without context, the story failed to provide necessary helpful perspective.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

 There was no mention of costs which can be signficant.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story reported on what the company media briefing wanted to report:  less pain, stiffness, disability and decreased use of pain medications in the braced group.  But the story didn’t say if there was a control group and how results compared.   

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

Not Satisfactory

 There was no discussion of potential harms that might be associated with the use of the devices reported on.  Are there any short term or potentially longer term implications resulting from the use of a knee brace?

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

Not Satisfactory

First, it’s not best practice to use a company-hosted media briefing on a device the company makes as the sole source of information.

Second, this was a small study.  The resuls might not be generalizable to typical individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

Perhaps most importantly, there was no information about the study design and whether there was a control group to which the participants were compared

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No overt disease mongering of knee arthritis.

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

Not Satisfactory

 The story included quotes from three clinicians and one patient – of which at least three appeared at the media briefing.  There was no disclosure of any financial conflicts of interest among the three clinicians.  Maybe there was none, but given the setting – a company-hosted media briefing – this issue should have been discussed.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

 The story mentioned knee replacement in the body of the piece and listed non-surgical approaches to the management of knee osteoarthritis at the end.  But there was no meaningful comparison of outcomes.

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

Not Satisfactory

There was no discussion of how widespread is the use/availability of knee braces in general or of the studied knee brace specifically.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


 The braces studied were appropriately not portrayed as a new treatment approach.

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

Not Satisfactory

Reporting from a company-hosted media briefing isn’t much different than relying solely on a news release.

Total Score: 2 of 10 Satisfactory


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