On line misrepresentations of research findings

29 Jul

Yesterday, I blogged about the possibility that certain blood pressure medication may slow cognitive decline in people with dementia. In the piece I cautioned that, while the findings are potentially important, the study had limitations that may have affected the results.  In addition, the authors of the study pointed out that the effect they found was quite small.

Already, there are web sites that are  misrepresenting the results of this study. In one, particularly egregious example we are told:

“A study has been carried out that has uncovered that ACE inhibitors taken to reduce blood pressure are able to reduce the pace of cognitive decline among people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It is another benefit is that the drug is able to boost brain power as well.”

All the qualifications that the authors carefully stated have been removed. This from a website that claims:

“TopNews articles and features are selected by our editors. All the content posted on the website is checked by sub editors of the particular sectors under which the individual articles fall.”

This makes the case that we should not accept media reports about scientific findings on face value. When ever possible we should check the original papers to find out what the research actually says.


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