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Most U.S. women face heart, stroke risk

Rating

3 Star

Most U.S. women face heart, stroke risk

Our Review Summary

This story reports on new American Heart Association guidelines to help women lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. 

But the story story sensationalized the incidence of heart disease and stroke by casting them as something nearly all American women are in danger of.  While it is true that heart disease and stroke combine to be the most common cause of death of US women, the story failed to point out that although the same is true for men, women die, on average at older ages.

This is not to say that women ought not take their cardiovascular risk seriously, but to be most helpful to the reader, that risk needs to be placed in an understandable context.

No attempt was made to quantify the possible benefit in risk reduction.  

The story did not mention how the guidelines were compiled, the nature of the clinical trials that were included or how these guidelines differ from those presented in 2004.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

There was no mention of the costs of aspirin, but those costs are common knowledge. 

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

Not Satisfactory

Although this story did a comprehensive job of reporting the recommendations presented in the guidelines,  it did not quantify the benefits to be obtained from the various means mentioned for lowering cardiovascular disease risk.  While this is somewhat understandable because of the number of recommendations mentioned and space constraints, there did not appear to be any attempt to estimate the risk reduction to be gained from the various recommendations to better enable a reader to determine how to prioritize their efforts.

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

Satisfactory

Harms of aspirin use, such as bleeding requiring transfusion and problems for individuals with uncontrolled hypertension were mentioned.

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

Not Satisfactory

The evidence presented in this story derived from the newly published guidelines from the American Heart Association for heart disease prevention in women. The story did not mention how the guidelines were compiled, the nature of the clinical trials that were included or how these guidelines differ from those presented in 2004.

The story was clear about the guidelines' strong recommendation for daily aspirin intake for women at high risk.  The story stated, "All other women should consider 81 mg. of aspirin daily", but then went on to say that this was controversial.  The guidelines, however were clear, stating that "Routine use of aspirin in lower-risk women is not recommended pending the results of ongoing trials". 

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Satisfactory

The story sensationalizes the incidence of heart disease and stroke by casting them as something nearly all American women are in danger of.  While it is true that heart disease and stroke combine to be the most common cause of death of US women, the story failed to point out that although the same is true for men, women die, on average at older ages.

This is not to say that women ought not take their cardiovascular risk seriously, but to be most helpful to the reader, that risk needs to be placed in an understandable context.

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

Satisfactory

The story included quotes from two of the American Heart Association guideline authors and several additional experts in the field without overt ties to the new recommendations.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story included a comprehensive list of things that women can do to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. 

 

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

Satisfactory

The story mentions that aspirin is available at drug stores.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

This story reported on a set of guidelines about cardiovascular disease prevention in women; similar guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in men have been presented.  It neglected to mention that this is an update of the guidelines issued in 2004 and failed to highlight what is new.

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

Satisfactory

It is unlikely that this piece relied solely or largely on a press release.

Total Score: 5 of 9 Satisfactory

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