Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Misleading Media Coverage Of Medicine

Date:
November 26, 2008
Source:
BMC Medicine
Summary:
Media coverage of clinical trials does not contain the elements readers require to make informed decisions. A comparison of the coverage received by pharmaceutical and herbal remedy trials, reported in the journal BMC Medicine, has revealed that it is rarely possible for the lay public to assess the credibility of the described research.

Media coverage of clinical trials does not contain the elements readers require to make informed decisions. A comparison of the coverage received by pharmaceutical and herbal remedy trials, reported in the open access journal BMC Medicine, has revealed that it is rarely possible for the lay public to assess the credibility of the described research.

Related Articles


Tania Bubela from the University of Alberta, Canada, led a team of researchers who investigated 201 pharmaceutical and 352 herbal remedy newspaper articles, and studied the 48 pharmaceutical and 57 herbal remedy clinical trials that the stories referred to. For both complementary and mainstream medicine, stories under-reported risk and lacked any disclosure of trial funding or scientists’ conflicts of interest. Bubela said, “There were significant errors of omission of basic information such as dose, sample size and methods for randomized clinical trials. In addition, there is an under-reporting of risks, especially in the context of herbal remedies”.

The main theme of almost all articles on pharmaceutical clinical trials was the trial itself. This contrasted with articles on herbal remedy clinical trials where 63.6% focused on the trial and the other third focused on other issues such as the myriad uses for any particular herb. The main benefit cited in almost all articles was improved health or treatment options. The study found that the media is overly reliant on narratives from satisfied patients, researchers, clinicians and patient groups - without disclosing these people’s financial ties to industry and conflicts of interest.

According to Bubela, “The study is not all bad news for the media. Slowly they are beginning to report on the welcome trend of evidence based clinical trials for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including herbal remedies. Unfortunately, the media still rely for their sources on high quality medical journals, which are more likely to report negative results about CAM and positive results about pharmaceuticals, The clinical trials in the study showed no difference in quality between herbal remedy and pharmaceutical trials, but CAM was still reported on more skeptically”.

Healthcare receives significant media attention, and CAM is no exception. Given the continued public interest in the multi-billion dollar business of CAM, this media attention is hardly surprising. The researchers conclude, “Given this well established and expanding market, it is time for journalists and editors to experiment with improving content without necessarily sacrificing narrative themes such as human interest stories. A change for the better is unlikely to result in a reduced public appetite for health news - an appetite which is increasingly sophisticated and desirous of high quality information”.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMC Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tania Bubela, Heather Boon and Timothy Caulfield. Herbal Remedy Clinical Trials in the Media: a Comparison with the Coverage of Conventional Pharmaceuticals. BMC Medicine, 2008, 6:35 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-6-35

Cite This Page:

BMC Medicine. "Misleading Media Coverage Of Medicine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081126075613.htm>.
BMC Medicine. (2008, November 26). Misleading Media Coverage Of Medicine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081126075613.htm
BMC Medicine. "Misleading Media Coverage Of Medicine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081126075613.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) — Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) — Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) — As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins