Misrepresentation of Research in the News


French researchers, publishing in PLoS Medicine, find that the mismatch between perceived and real beneficial effects of new treatments is related to the presence of “spin” in the abstracts and conclusions of randomized controlled trials and their resultant press releases. Peer reviewers and journal editors, the study concludes, have a responsibility to ensure that conclusions reported in the abstracts of RCTs are consistent with the results of the research.

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Of further interest:
“Spin” in media coverage of research can be traced to abstracts (Article on PLoS Medicine article in the British Medical Journal)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].