The biggest weakness was its failure to put the study results into any meaningful context for readers. It describes points on a symptom scale without telling us the significance of these changes. And it describes slowing the rate of brain shrinkage in what sound like impressive terms but without giving any context for readers to fully grasp whether it’s truly impressive or not.
We applaud the independent perspective sought from the Mayo Alzheimer’s expert and its reminder – "In the past few years alone, several Alzheimer’s drugs that made it to this stage failed to pan out in further testing."
The approach is described as "expensive — about $2,000 to $3,000 per treatment. And patients in the study received infusions up to twice a month, depending on the dose, for 18 months."
For reasons described in the Evidence criterion above, we don’t think the story adequately explained what the study found.
The story states:
We wonder how well patients tolerate side effects of headaches, rashes and higher blood pressure.
Problems here. The whole story of benefit is framed around two data points that are not explained in any meaningful context:
So readers are supposed to take – on faith – that these are impressive changes, but they are never explained adequately.
At least there was a somewhat-balancing comment at the end of the story from an independent expert.
No overt disease-mongering of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The story explained that the study was funded by the drug company that makes the drug being studied. And it did seek opinions from two independent experts.
There was no comparison between these results and other Alzheimer’s research, except for the Mayo expert’s reminder that "In the past few years alone, several Alzheimer’s drugs that made it to this stage failed to pan out in further testing." However, because of the importance of that reminder at the very end of the story, we’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt on this criterion.
We’re told that IVIG is a decades-old drug.
No extraordinary claims of novelty were made.
There’s no evidence that the story relied solely on a news release.