How many people read a headline, "Impotence Drugs May Aid Brain Tumor Treatment" and immediately think it’s only in mice? We bet not many. But that’s what they got with this story. How many people read a news story and expect there to be some original, independent reporting? Probably a lot and they’d be disappointed in this story.
It’s not a trivial matter when news stories jerk around people with brain tumors raising false hopes over mouse research.
No discussion of the cost of sildenafil, vardenafil or herceptin in the treatment of these brain tumors.
The story explained:
But it didn’t explain how many mice were tested. And it didn’t give any absolute numbers of how long survival was increased. Did "increased by 20 percent" mean 20 minutes? 2 days? And no matter what the answer, how might that translate to people? And large is that leap? The story was frustratingly silent on these questions.
No discussion of any even theoretical harms of using any of these drugs to treat brain tumors.
Unbelievably, there was not one word about the limitations in applying findings about the blood-brain barrier in mice to the same situation in people. Also no discussion about how extensive was the research in mice – how many mice?
No overt disease-mongering.
No independent expert source was quoted.
No discussion of any other research in treating these tumors so how this mouse research fits into the context of other research in this field is completely unaddressed.
Not applicable. The availability of the drugs is not in question.
No discussion of any other research in treating these tumors so the true novelty of the approach is unclear.
The story got its only quote from a news release. Presumably that’s where all the other information came from as well.