Beware the press release

Today I’m sharing a post on HDBuzz titled “The University of New Orleans has NOT discovered a cure for Huntington’s disease“. Apparently a press release recently came out saying that researchers at UNO have found a “way to delay symptoms of deadly Huntington’s disease”. Although the research was important, there were a lot of caveats and we are still a very long way from being able to treat Huntington’s disease in the way the experiment suggested. By just reading the press release, however, you would expect a new drug any day now.

The post does a good job of explaining the actual study and dissecting the press release itself. It shows that the media really took a lot of liberties with the implications of the study, but that the researchers themselves were guilty of some exaggeration, as well. I can’t help but think that this inflated process has been repeated a number of times in scientific reporting, and can lead to very bad consequences, such as the MMR controversy.

Unfortunately, the conclusion of the post invites the reader to view another article, ‘Ten Golden Rules for reading a scientific news story’, but there doesn’t seem to be a link to it.


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