Responsible reporting of a promising, but very preliminary finding in diabetes research.
The caveats and context were all there.
As one of the independent experts was quoted saying, ” If this is reproducible and correct, it could be a phenomenal finding.” The story emphasized that this is still a big IF.
Not applicable. Costs were not discussed, which is understandable at this early stage of research which the story emphasized.
Adequate explanation of the results from a tiny study.
There was no discussion of potential harms. The story could have at least emphasized that not much can be known about potential harms after such a small, short-term study. The human trial was under-powered to detect harm. At the same time BCG vaccine has been around for a long time and has been widely used throughout the world, so there is data on the known side effects and complications of the vaccine. At the same time, this is a new use and larger trials and post marketing surveillance will be needed before the potential harms are known.
The story did an excellent job evaluating the quality of the evidence and providing readers with an explanation of how “the findings contradict an essential paradigm of diabetes therapy.”
No disease-mongering of Type I diabetes.
Good sourcing, with two independent expert comments. The philanthropic funding source for the work was also mentioned.
The story offered this solid context:
“The findings contradict an essential paradigm of diabetes therapy — that once the insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas have been destroyed, they are gone forever. Because of that belief, most research today focuses on using vaccines to prevent the cells’ destruction in the first place, or on using beta cell transplants to replace the destroyed cells.
The new findings, however, hint that even in patients with long-standing diabetes, the body retains the potential to restore pancreas function if clinicians can only block the parts of the immune system that are killing the beta cells.”
The story clearly explained the experimental nature of the research.
The story did a good job on this criterion, estabiishing the relative novelty of the work while explaining that there has been related animal research.
It’s clear the story did not rely on a news release.