Do Academic Medical Centers Hype Reports ?

Our hope is that the medical research centers will be balanced in their reporting.  But alas…….

In today’s Wall Street Journal Health Blog there is an article on a research  study that questions the accuracy of press releases from Academic Medical Centers.

Is everybody in the game of exaggerating the importance of their research?

Here is the link:

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2009/05/04/academic-medical-centers-often-guilty-of-research-hype/

an excerpt from the article:

A piece out in the Annals of Internal Medicine takes a look at press releases that academic medical centers sent out about their research, examining such details as whether they gave information on the studies’ size, hard results numbers and cautions about how solid the results are and what they mean. The conclusion: The press releases “often promote research that has uncertain relevance to human health and do not provide key facts or acknowledge important limitations.”

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  1. bowrbird

    Here is a comment found on the Columbia Review of Journalism site that is relevant:

    The commenter identifies himself as Paul Raeburn

    “The key to this business of covering studies is to find people who can understand and evaluate them, and who are not connected to the research, and to ask them what it means. I’ve seen many reporters come to believe, after years on the job, that they are experts, when, in fact, they’ve never examined a patient, run a regression analysis, or analyzed an immune response.

    That leads me to one weakness in most press releases. They rarely include that kind of outside, independent assessment. Public information folks rely on their own scientists to evaluate their own research, and that can lead to overstatement of the importance of the study–either because the researchers are caught up in their enthusiasm, or because they hype the results to advance their careers, to promote their university, or to prop up the companies that they own and stand to profit from.”…..

    You can find the source of this comment at the following link:

    http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/to_report_or_repeat.php?page=2




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