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New Views on Frequency of Osteoporosis Screening


3 Star

New Views on Frequency of Osteoporosis Screening

Our Review Summary

The story includes some independent experts’ viewpoints and presented some of the study’s limitations that were ignored in the Los Angeles Times story.  Like the Times story, though, this one could have spent more time explaining the data behind the findings.


Why This Matters

Osteoporosis is a serious and debilitating condition that hits women especially hard in old age. Screening every two years has been a common clinical recommendation, and this study challenges that. For patients to know how to factor this information into their health planning, they need a complete picture of the science involved in these conclusions. This story does a better job than the LA Times story in presenting that picture – but only barely.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

This story makes no mention of costs.

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

Not Satisfactory

There are no numbers in this story attached to the benefits of less frequent bone density testing.

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

Not Satisfactory

This story did not quantify any harms associated with bone density testing, with osteoperosis or with waiting too long to have ones bones tested.

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


The story could have done more to evaluate the quality of evidence, but we will give it the benefit of the doubt.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease mongering in this story.

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

This very short story includes perspectives of two other experts besides the study author.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The entire story is about different intervals for bone density screening.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story talks about "women’s T-score, which is a measure of bone density", but it never explains how a bone density test is conducted or who might conduct it. Does a woman have to go to a specialist? What kind of equipment is involved? It doesn’t take much to address these questions.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The novelty here is not bone density screening, but less frequent use of this widely used test. Sadly, research that looks at screening intervals is a novelty. But neither story establishes that novelty. The study appears to be quite significant given the size of the cohort and the time period of the study.

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


One quote – the story admits – comes from a news release.  But there is evidence of independent reporting elsewhere.

Total Score: 5 of 10 Satisfactory


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