This story is based on a study of just nine skilled college tennis players. The story provides no context, no data, no comparisons with related research.
In the firehose of health information that floods the American public every day, this story about trying to prevent "fatigue-induced decline" in just 9 elite tennis players just doesn’t seem to be worth the time or attention.
Not applicable. The cost of baking soda isn’t in question.
There were no detailed results reported in the story – none of the data that would explain whether blood tests or accuracy/velocity testing was significantly different between the treated and non-treated groups. So readers are given no sense of the scope of potential benefit.
There was no discussion of potential harms.
There was no discussion of the limitations of drawing conclusions from a study of just nine people. Or of two little trials a week apart.
The story didn’t discuss any of the limitations that the researchers themselves described:
Is "fatigue-induced decline" in tennis really something that requires treatment? Does a study in 21-year old Division I college tennis players have any direct relevance to the rest of the population? None of these questions were explored.
No independent perspective appeared in the story.
There was not even a line about other fatigue-fighting measures in tennis players, and no comparison of these new small-study results with anything else. It’s just an island of isolated information from an extremely small study. Why this is newsworthy is beyond us.
Not applicable. The availability of baking soda isn’t in question.
The story didn’t place this new, tiny study into the context of other research that’s been done on sodium bicarbonate and athletic performance.
The story lifted its researcher quotes from a news release.