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Read Original Story

Using Biofeedback at Home

Rating

3 Star

Using Biofeedback at Home

Our Review Summary

This story reports on a new trend in medical devices – home biofeedback. The story clearly states that the concept of biofeedback is not new – psychologists have been using it for a while in their offices. What is new is that these devices are now being marketed for home use.

The story mentions that these devices are available and from which manufacturers, however it does not mention alternative options. Deep breathing exercises are mentioned, but what other options are available? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach by comparison? Although the story mentions costs, it fails to provide cost estimates of the alternatives and no quantification of benefits is provided.

Most importantly, the story does not clearly explain what the target disease or condition is. The story mentions stress, but also depression, asthma, anxiety, insomnia, etc. Having such a wide range of conditions that these devices purport to cure should serve as a red flag that these claims are not credible. The story also does not adequately describe the strength or availability of the evidence to support the use of these devices.

The story does mention that no serious side effects have been reported and quotes two sources who have differing views on the utility of such devices.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions costs, the story does not meet this criteria because it fails to provide cost estimates of the alternative treatments.

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

Not Satisfactory

No quantification of benefits is provided.

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

Satisfactory

The story mentions that no serious side effects have been reported.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not adequately describe the strength or availability of the evidence to support the use of these devices.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

It is not clear from the story what the disease is. Stress is mentioned, but so is depression, asthma, anxiety, insomnia, etc.

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

Satisfactory

Two sources are quoted who have differing views on the utility of such devices. They offer some reasonable expertise and guidance to potential users.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

There is no mention of alternative treatment options. Deep breathing exercises are mentioned, but what other options are available? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach by comparison?

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

Satisfactory

The story explains that these devices are available and from which manufacturers.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story clearly states that this is not a new technique; psychologists have been using it for a while in their offices. What is new is that these devices are now being marketed for home use. The story is not clear on whether or not some of the tools such as the computer program are novel.

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

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 4 of 9 Satisfactory

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