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Beer ingredient may fight prostate cancer

Rating

1 Star

Beer ingredient may fight prostate cancer

Our Review Summary

The story reports that an ingredient found in beer may help prevent prostate cancer or enlargement. While the story provides some details about the history of this ingredient and lets readers know this is still being researched and cautions them not to rush out to buy more beer, there are several areas for improvement. There is no information about prostate cancer, specifically that it may not cause harm even if a man does develop it. There is also no description of the evidence upon which claims are based or even a description of the effects, or "benefits," observed so far in research. And, there is absolutely no information about potential harms. What's less clear is whether the story should have talked about how this option might fit into existing options for prevention, which themselves have benefits that are somewhat unclear. Finally, almost the entire story is a direct copy of an Oregon State University news release. There is no independent corroboration that there may be any health benefits from this compound. (Publisher's Note: this same story appeared in many print and broadcast news reports across the U.S., demonstrating the impact of one Associated Press story that comes directly from a news release.)

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

There is no mention of potential costs of treatment, although this would be difficult to do for a product that is not yet widely available or even well-researched in terms of what amount or dosage would be needed and how often.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story mentions that 17 beers would be needed for an effect, yet readers don't know what that "effect" is or over what timeframe. There is no quantitative estimate of benefit.

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

Not Satisfactory

There is no mention of potential harms.

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

Not Satisfactory

There is no discussion of the clinical evidence upon which the claims are based. Readers don�t know how reliable the studies were or even what was found that leads reserchers to believe there is a health benefit.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

The story provides no information on prostate cancer or its natural history, including the fact that prostate cancer may not cause harm, even if a man develops it.

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

Not Satisfactory

There is no independent corroboration that there may be health benefits from this compound.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story states that the compound may prevent prostate cancer (and enlargement, which is not cancerous) in the opening and headline. There is no mention of other strategies–particularly other complementary and alternative approaches–for preventing prostate cancer. However, since this new option hasn't been well-studied and any effects on cancer are not known, it would be difficult to compare this new idea with existing prevention approaches, which themselves have varying degrees of scientific evidence to support them.

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

Satisfactory

The story tells readers that future research could make the compound more available (for instance, in pills or through highly-concentrated hops in beer or other dietary sources). It also tells readers that a beer is currently available in Germany that has 10 times as much of the compound as typical beers. So, the story provides enough information for readers to understand that this "treatment" is not yet widely available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

The story implies that this latest finding is novel, but also states that previous publications on health effects drew international attention. Given the past findings, this is not really new as implied.

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

Not Satisfactory

Almost the entire story is a direct copy of an Oregon State University news release, viewable at: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2006/May06/beer.html

Total Score: 1 of 10 Satisfactory

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