When a study is so small that even the news release calls it a “small study” in the lead, journalists might want to explore that point. But this story never discussed the limitations of small, short-term studies. And it never discussed other past evidence that came up with different conclusions about acupuncture and menopausal symptoms. But that’s what you get – or don’t get – in a 165-word story derived from a news release.
Journalism is supposed to independently vet claims. There was no evidence that happened in this story.
No discussion of cost. Women in the study were treated for 10 weeks. How much would that cost? Not a trivial issue.
The story only stated that women who got acupuncture “had significantly less severe hot flashes and mood swings.” What does that mean? How was it measured?
No discussion of any potential harms – only a discussion of benefits.
All this story said was ” the researchers acknowledged that they did not monitor how long symptom relief lasted.”
That was the only hint of a limitation. But there wasn’t any other evaluation of the quality of the evidence in such a small, short-term trial.
No overt disease mongering. Although the story made no attempt to explain how troublesome the study subjects’ symptoms were before the intervention.
No one was quoted, suggesting that no one was interviewed.
Not a word about any other research on acupuncture for menopausal symptoms and no comparison with any other methods used to relieve symptoms.
This was a story about a Turkish study (not explained in the story) on Chinese acupuncture. If a woman doesn’t know anything about acupuncture, this story told her nothing about its availability in the U.S.
There has been a lot of research on acupuncture and menopausal symptoms. This story made no reference to any of it.
The story admits that its source was a journal news release. A for honesty. F for independent journalism.