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Read Original Story

Walking away from paralysis

Rating

2 Star

Walking away from paralysis

Our Review Summary

This story reports on a method of rehabilitation after spinal cord injury called locomotor training. This method has been gaining in popularity after the much-publicized improvements in the condition of Christopher Reeve. This story accurately reports on the availability and novelty of the treament, but otherwise gives the reader very little in the way of useful information.

The story does not provide the reader with information on the costs or harms of treatment, and what, if any, alternative options may exist. The story does not quote more than one expert and does not quantify the benefits of treatment. Most importantly, however, the story does not discuss the strength of the available evidence to support the use of the treatment.  From the story, it is unclear if locomotor training has been studied systematically or if there is just anecdotal evidence to support its use in humans (only animal studies are mentioned).

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention costs.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not quantify the benefits of treatment.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention any possible harms of treatment. Specifically, it would be important to mention that in new spine injuries with fractures, there can be instability that needs to be treated first. Mobilization activities such as these could be harmful in that situation.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story does not adequately describe the strength of the available evidence. It's unclear if locomotor training has been studied systematically or if there is just anecdotal evidence to support its use in humans (only animal studies are mentioned).

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not appear to engage in disease mongering, although the story could be clearer about who is or is not a candidate for this kind of treatment.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story only quotes one expert. The story should have quoted other experts who could have provided more balance.  It could have turned to a spinal trauma expert from one of the many institutions that do not offer this form of treatment.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention any treatment alternatives. Although there is a brief mention of "traditional therapy," the story does not place locomotor therapy in the context of current care options.

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

Satisfactory

The story mentions that locomotor training is only available in a handful of centers in the U.S. and access is limited. The story should not have implied that the treatment has gone "mainstream" because it is only available in 17 hospitals in the US.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story implies that locomotor training is not a new idea, but that it is one that is gaining in acceptance.

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

Not Applicable

There is no way to know if the story relies on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 3 of 9 Satisfactory

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