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Olive oil lovers show lower stroke risk


5 Star



Olive oil lovers show lower stroke risk

Our Review Summary

This story explored the nature of an observational study about the stroke-reducing risks of olive oil. The story appropriately discussed other possible reasons for the findings and why a clinical trial is stronger evidence.


Why This Matters

With so much news coverage touting an apparent benefit from olive oil in this study (CBS had a headline about “huge decline in stroke risk”), it is refreshing to see so much time and space given to a clear-eyed evaluation of the evidence as this story provided.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  The cost of olive oil is not in question.

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


This story did the best job of the three stories we reviewed in quantifying the potential benefits observed in the study.

“Over the next five to six years, those intensive users suffered strokes at a rate of 0.3 percent per year. That compared with just over 0.5 percent among non-users, and 0.4 percent among moderate users.

When the researchers factored in other diet habits, exercise levels and major risk factors for stroke — like high blood pressure and diabetes — heavy olive oil use was tied to 41 percent reduction in the odds of stroke.”

There are better ways to try to communicate numbers of less than one percent.  But we applaud the detail provided.

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


Excellent.  The story devoted almost 200 words to the potential limitations of such an observational study. Also a clear description of the cohort design.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease-mongering of stroke in the story.

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


The story included strong input from a researcher who wrote in an editorial on the study.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story at least mentioned other factors that could be at play – no single food is consumed in isolation, he points out in his editorial. Olive oil is one part of the Mediterranean diet that has been tied to heart benefits. The diet also boasts plenty of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish and moderate amounts of red wine.”

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

Not Applicable

Not applicable. The availability of olive oil is not in question.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story attempted to put the new finding into the context of past research on olive oil and the Mediterranean diet.

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


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

Total Score: 7 of 7 Satisfactory


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