Newspaper reports of promising clinical studies: 15-year follow-up




Poster session 3


Tuesday 18 September 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00

All authors in correct order:

Tajika A1, Ogawa Y1, Takeshima N1, Hayasaka Y1, Iwakami N1, Furukawa TA1
1 Kyoto University, Japan
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Yusuke Ogawa

Contact person:

Abstract text
Researchers have identified cases in which newspaper stories have put a spin on medical studies reported in original articles. Moreover, exaggeration sometimes starts with the journal articles themselves.

We examined how much spin there was in newspaper reports, and what proportion of the studies quoted in newspaper stories could be confirmed.

We identified the newspaper stories that mentioned the effectiveness of certain treatments or preventions in the year 2000, and that were based on original studies from 40 main journals. For each original study, we searched subsequent studies with stronger research designs.

We found 164 original articles and randomly selected 100. The proportion of spin was 4.2% (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2 to 7.3), and 78.0% (95% CI 67.8 to 85.7) of the original studies were confirmed. However, among the confirmed studies, the median standardized mean difference reported by the subsequent studies was 0.1 standard deviations (SD) smaller than that of the original studies. We considered only half to have been replicated both in the direction and magnitude of the treatment effect.

Readers of newspapers should be aware that some of the claims made in highly circulated newspapers based on high-profile journal articles may still be overturned by subsequent studies.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:

Relevance to patients and consumers: 

As people's health awareness has increased, newspapers cover ever greater numbers of stories about health and medicine every day. However, media coverage often exaggerates both fears and hopes.This study aims to examine the trustworthiness of the medical news and it will provide useful information to readers of newspapers.