Articles tagged as: Overstates scientific confidence definition

Misleading Wall Street Journal opinion piece makes the unsubstantiated claim that the U.S. will have herd immunity by April 2021

in Wall Street Journal, by Marty Makary

“The article’s claim that the U.S. is near herd immunity rests on two numbers: 1) the detection of infections by testing (claimed to be 10 – 25 percent) and 2) the infection fatality rate (claimed to be 0.23 percent). Using the same number of deaths as the author indicates that 0.15%/0.6% = 25% of the U.S. population has been infected, rather than two-thirds as the author claims. Thus, the author’s argument that 55 – 66 percent of the U.S. population has already been infected and has immunity is not supported by available data.”

— 26 Feb 2021

Daily Mail article misleads with clickbait headline claiming cowpox-derived virus will “kill every type of cancer”

in Daily Mail, by Zoe Zaczek

“This article substantially overhypes early pre-clinical work with a viral therapy that has not yet been tested in even the earliest stages of human clinical trials. The headline is particularly misleading as I can find only three published papers suggesting the therapy has efficacy in lung, breast and colorectal cancers in cell lines and mouse models only.”

— 20 Nov 2019

The Atlantic provides accurate summary of research on gut microbiome, hypothesizes well-reasoned potential benefits of consuming fresh produce

in The Atlantic, by James Hamblin

“The article provides a well balanced discussion of current knowledge surrounding the gut microbiota and benefits of eating whole foods. The author could have provided more details on the limitations (possible confounding variables) of the initial referenced article, however this is a minor point. Furthermore, associations between the microbiota and weight gain/loss is currently unclear, which the author should have mentioned, particularly since reverse causation between obesity and a less diverse microbiota is highly possible”

— 02 Sep 2019

New Scientist article accurately summarises polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) research but overstates significance of animal studies

in New Scientist, by Alice Klein

“I think that the title overstates the position with the present level of knowledge and is too sensationalist. The ‘ovarian cysts’ stated to typically characterize PCOS are not cysts but follicles and this may be misleading. On the positive side, the quotes from Professor Robert Norman are spot on and accurately quoted (see Annotations below).”

— 17 Jan 2019

Scientists discuss the widely shared Huffington Post article “Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong”

in Huffington Post, by Michael Hobbes

The article failed to place the science in context and overstated scientific confidence, resulting in flawed conclusions. Reviewers also pointed out the bias present in the article which discussed only the negative aspects of obese people’s interactions with society and the medical establishment, while glossing over how both groups have worked to help promote healthy living and weight loss in the obese, such as in the implementation of sugar taxes and the development of medical interventions like bariatric surgery.

— 17 Dec 2018