It really isn’t that difficult to address our criteria, as this story demonstrates.
You can report on studies that suggest a benefit, but you can also then educate readers about why this may not be the case.
This one was a good model for how to report on research.
Some journalists become statin-crazy. Statins have been touted as beneficial for people with dementia, arthritis, and pneumonia, just to name a few. More statin cheerleading could have happened with this story. Instead, the reporter stopped to evaluate the evidence, ask questions, seek independent perspectives, and bring it all home to readers in an easily understandable way.
Cost range estimates for statins are given in the story.
Story explains that those with fatal cancers were 63% less likely to have ever taken a statin, but then goes on to explain that “it’s also possible that statins don’t prevent certain cancers at all.”
Good job briefly mentioning statin side effects of muscle pain, nausea, gas, and liver dysfunction.
The story is very clear about the potential holes in the study results and what it would take to actually prove that statins protect against aggressive cancer.
No disease mongering here. Ends with “Researchers agreed that until there’s clearer evidence for benefit, men with healthy hearts shouldn’t seek out statin prescriptions for the purpose of lowering their prostate cancer risks.”
Important perspective added by independent expert from Duke who was not involved in the study.
Final line of the story quotes an independent expert saying “that other strategies for lowering cholesterol — such as eating better and exercising regularly — are ways almost everyone can lower their disease risks in the meantime.”
The story states that about one-quarter of adults age 45 and older in the U.S. take statins to lower cholesterol and protect against heart attacks.
No inordinate claims of novelty were made.
It’s clear that the story did not rely on a news release.