20 August, 2014

Ruxolitinib story in the USA - Criticisms of media coverage

Gary Schwitzer blogs on evaluating the quality of evidence and health journalism. He is a critic of reporting of the trial of ruxolitinib and raises some good questions about the NYT article we linked to yesterday
Here’s some of what he said and the questions he asks
“........ the Times was too vague about the numbers.  It explained that the drug ruxolitinib had been tested on seven women and five men.  But then it vaguely reported:
    “The results for Brian and several other participants have been significant.”   (Our questions: How many is several?  What does significant mean? Only the one patient’s – Brian’s – experience is detailed.)
It helpfully explained that “so far a few participants did not regrow hair.”  (Our question:  How many of the 12?)
It helpfully reported a quote from one of the researchers:  “It appears to work — not in everyone, but in the majority,” she said. “We need a lot more data on the long-term risks in healthy individuals.”
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