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Pomegranate juice could help kidney patients

Rating

5 Star

Pomegranate juice could help kidney patients

Our Review Summary

Early and frequent caveats such as:

  • the findings have not yet been vetted by independent experts
  • the study needs to be replicated by other centers
  • the researchers were only able to rule out chance as the cause of the reduction in the second visit to the hospital (one of the findings reported).

It also made excellent use of two independent and skeptical experts.

It also appropriately used absolute risk reduction figures, not just the more impressive-sounding relative risk reductions.

 

Why This Matters

There’s been so much hype of pomegranate juice.  It is refreshing and important to see a journalist tell the story but to do with facts and data – and with independent perspectives – rather than becoming a marketing arm of the juice industry.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story included a price estimate for one brand of pomegranate juice – about $4 for a 16 oz. bottle.

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

Satisfactory

Good use of absolute risk reduction:

“According to the findings, among 50 patients drinking pomegranate juice for a year, about two would have to go to the hospital at least twice. By comparison, that number would be nearly 11 in patients not drinking the juice.”

 

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

Satisfactory

Good job.  The story states that the “team had found no side effects, but added that kidney patients should be aware of the high potassium content in the juice, given the delicate balance of nutrients in their blood, and talk to their doctor if they consider drinking it.”

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

Satisfactory

Strong evaluation of the evidence, including several caveats and perspectives of skeptical independent experts.

The story also emphasized:

  • the findings have not yet been vetted by independent experts
  • the study needs to be replicated by other centers
  • the researchers were only able to rule out chance as the cause of the reduction in the second visit to the hospital.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

There was no disease mongering in the story.

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

Satisfactory

Quotes from two skeptical independent experts made this a solid piece.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

Again, the Marion Nestle concluding quote was key:  “Pomegranate juices — like most if not all fruit and vegetable juices — have antioxidant activity. Does this make pomegranates better than any other fruit? Investigators have yet to show this.”

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

Not Applicable

Not applicable. The availability of pomegranate juice is not in question.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

Good job on this, citing research over at the last 3 years, but also concluding with this quote from Marion Nestle:

“This study does not demonstrate anything special about pomegranate juice.The effects of juice were compared to a placebo, not to any other kind of juice that might have exactly the same effect. …The pomegranate people are spending millions to prove what I could have told them in the first place. Pomegranate juices — like most if not all fruit and vegetable juices — have antioxidant activity. Does this make pomegranates better than any other fruit? Investigators have yet to show this.”

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

Satisfactory

It’s clear that the story did not rely solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 9 Satisfactory

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