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Circumcision pluses outweigh risks: Pediatricians


4 Star


Circumcision pluses outweigh risks: Pediatricians

Our Review Summary

Still, this was a reasonable report on the AAP policy statement, emphasizing the role of parents’ shared decision-making on this issue up high in the second sentence.


Why This Matters

Parents still have to make decisions and news stories could help them by providing the best evidence on how large is the scope of potential benefit and how large is the scope of potential harm – actual numbers.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


Cost estimates from CDC are given.

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

Not Satisfactory

Benefits were not quantified but listed within the article.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) didn’t quantify the benefits in its policy statement either.  But consumers need to understand how “significant” are the reductions in the risk of urinary tract infection or the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and transmission of other STDs.  Even a simple infographic would have helped.


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

Not Satisfactory

The story included the concerns of some that circumcision “amounts to genital mutilation”  or “causes loss of sexual satisfaction.”

But it didn’t include the AAP’s policy statement excerpt that:

“Complications are infrequent; most are minor, and severe complications are rare.”

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

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t really describe the process by which the recommendation was developed.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story did not commit disease mongering.

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


The story included an almost throwaway quote from the author of another recent study on states eliminating Medicaid coverage for circumcision.  And a quote from a psychologist heading an anti-circumcision group. It also briefly touched on AMA and American Academy of Family Physicians’ policies.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The alternative is no circumcision, which is clear from the story.

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


The story stated that roughly a million procedures are doneeach year in the US but it also described recent declines in US circumcision rates.

The story was very specific in stating that most circumcisions are performed in hospitals by obstetricians or pediatricians.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story makes it clear that the AAP has previously issued recommendations on the topic of circumcision and points out that this latest recommendation is a bit contrary to that previously issued.

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


It’s clear that the story did not rely solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory


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