Take a concept that the story tells us is not new, tell us that most previous research was in mice, and now add an observational study in people that can’t establish cause-and-effect. And what do you have? A cocktail for hype that doesn’t educate readers about why such studies – while possibly important – don’t warrant some of the language in the headline or the body of the article.
Observational studies like this have limitations. Such limitations should always be noted. One of the biggest is that they can’t establish cause and effect. So why put the tease, "Could drinking help thwart rheumatoid arthritis?" in the headline – a question the story and the study CAN NOT answer.
Not applicable. The cost of alcohol is not in question.
Too vague. Terms were used such as:
No discussion of harms of alcohol consumption.
Poor job on this. Little exploration or explanation of the limitations of such an observational study. This story only said "there are limitations to any research which asks patients to report their exposure to something." Such as? Why not even one little example? For comparison, a MedPageToday story reported:
That’s what we’re looking for in such a story. That’s what we didn’t get in this one.
We felt disease-mongering in the air when the story didn’t explain what degree of rheumatoid arthritis the subjects had. In fact, at one point the author referred to simply "joint inflammation." Well one man’s joint inflammation is not another man’s rheumatoid arthritis. So this potentially disabling condition was treated as just one huge bucket of a diagnosis in this story, whereas it is a wide and varied spectrum of disease and impacts.
One apparently independent expert was quoted. We weren’t told why he was quoted or whether he was involved in the research. But he’s not listed as an author of the study, so we’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt – by a hair.
Not even a word about other approaches to treating rheumatoid arthritis. Even a line may have satisfied this criterion.
Not applicable. The availability of alcohol is not in question. In fact, we need a drink after reading another story that conflates association with causation.
The story explained "This actually isn’t a new concept" but that most previous research was in mice.
Does not appear to have relied on a news release.