It’s not often you see a story that so simply explains possible confounders in research. This story hammered the point:
Not applicable. The cost of fiber in the diet is not in question.
We’ll give the story the benefit of the doubt, although suggest a minor change in the future.
The story only used relative risk reduction figures. It could have included just a line to explain why it may not be statistically appropriate to pool absolute risk reductions in such a meta-analysis.
While there are hypothetically potential harms of too much fiber in the diet, this story in this context didn’t need to drill down on them.
Strength of the piece. It repeatedly stressed:
Perfect, easy to understand explanation of possible confounders.
There is no disease-mongering of breast cancer in the story. In fact, it includes an important little line of context: “About one in eight American women get breast cancer at some point, with less than a quarter of them dying from it.”
Two expert independent perspectives were included.
The story did touch on other risk factors: “alcohol drinking, weight, hormone replacement therapy and family history”
The story explains that fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are all high in fiber.
The story wrapped the new analysis into the context of prior work:
“While earlier research has yielded mixed conclusions on the link between cancer and fiber, it would make scientific sense: According to the Chinese researchers, people who eat high-fiber diets have lower levels of estrogen, which is a risk factor for breast tumors.
So to get more clarity, the researchers combined 10 earlier studies that looked at women’s diets and followed them over seven to 18 years to see who developed cancer.”
The story clearly did not rely on a news release.