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Menopause Study Disputes Herb Treatment


4 Star

Menopause Study Disputes Herb Treatment

Our Review Summary

This story clearly and accurately summarizes the results of the recent trial concluding that common herbal therapies are no better than placebo at relieving menopausal hot flashes and night sweats. Especially commendable is the inclusion of the actual difference in the number of hot flashes or night sweats women in each study group experienced per day. Readers can easily understand and use information about the absolute difference in outcomes.  

Failure to mention the costs and any side effects of the herbal therapies are relatively minor criticisms of this otherwise high quality story.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No mention of costs, but given the comparison with other medications and acknowledgement of multiple sources to obtain the product, this is a relatively minor concern.

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


The story clearly describes the impact of the therapies on a tangible outcome: the difference in the number of hot flashes or night sweats women in each group had each day. 

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

Not Satisfactory

There is no mention of the possible harms of any of the herbal treatments; the statement by a researcher who led the study that they are 'safe' goes unchallenged.

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


Story does a reasonable job of explaining the study that was done, but does not mention whether women knew which group they were in (that is, were they randomly assigned and blinded as to which therapy they received).

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


The story identifies both the source of funding for the study and the two investigators who are quoted. An expert who was not involved in the study also commented on the findings.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


Other options for managing hot flashes and night sweats are mentioned, as well as how the role of traditional hormone therapies has shifted in recent years.

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


The story says black cohosh is "available in pill or liquid form and is sold over the counter in many health food stores and over the Internet."

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


It's clear from the context that the herbal remedies are not novel approaches.

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


The story does not appear to have relied solely or largely on an a news release, and included input from an independent researcher. 

Total Score: 8 of 10 Satisfactory


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