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Read Original Story

Hormones may be better than soy for hot flashes


5 Star

Hormones may be better than soy for hot flashes

Our Review Summary

One of the only suggestions we would make is that the story could have quantified potential harms.  It didn’t quantify harms of estrogen (about which there is a great deal of evidence) nor of soy (for which there is a scant evidence base). However, the article does an acceptable job of acknowledging risks reported elsewhere for both treatments.


Why This Matters

Hot flashes are such a hot button issue for so many women.  It is refreshing to see a clear, straightforward daily news report that delivers most of the information women need to evaluate a new study.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


We were pleased to see that the story included cost estimates of both soy supplements and of hormone replacement therapy pills.

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


The story explained that “women who took hormones had an average of 24 fewer hot flashes per month, while those who took soy had 12 per month.”

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


Adequate job reminding readers of the risks reported from the 2002 Women’s Health Inititiative study (although we wish it had given the absolute risk data).  And it cited what the NIH reports as side effects of soy supplements – but again without numbers.  Adequate nonetheless.

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


Adequate job.  The story explained that soy hasn’t been studied as much as HRT for hot flashes and that “doctors don’t know exactly how it works.”  It explained that this was a study of studies.

The story also includes a link to the study itself, which is always a nice touch.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease mongering.  The story included some interest factoids such as the average number of hot flashes per month reported by women in the studies.

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


One apparently independent expert was quoted in the story.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


We suppose that in an ideal world. the story could have at least commented on other alternative options that have been explored for hot flashes. But the story adequately discussed the comparison results from the study, and we appreciate that it ended with a comment about “watchful waiting” as well – reminding readers that not everyone chooses to take something for hot flashes.

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

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  The availability of soy supplements or of hormone replacement therapy is not in question.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


No inordinate claims of novelty for either approach.

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


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

Total Score: 9 of 9 Satisfactory


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