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"Study of prostate enlargement casts doubt on herbal remedy"

Victoria Times Colonist

Source: Victoria Times Colonist

Published: 10 Feb 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (1½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

NEW YORK (AP) -- A popular herbal pill used by millions of men doesn't reduce the frequent urge to go to the bathroom or other annoying symptoms of an enlarged prostate, a rigorous new study concludes.
The year-long research found the plant extract, saw palmetto, was no more effective than dummy capsules in easing symptoms for the 225 men in the study. The results contrast with previous research that showed it helped.
"This certainly sheds some doubt on whether the product's effective and suggests that it might not work," said the lead researcher, Dr. Stephen Bent, of the San Francisco VA Medical Center....

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

It is unclear from the piece how relevant this is to Canadian men. One key drawback: there is no mention of current pharmaceutical treatments for BPH and/or how well they work for comparison purposes, which is a serious flaw in the article. BPH stands for benign prostatic hyperplasia an enlargement of the prostate gland.

The article contains some good detail on the study, particularly appreciated is the mention of the difficulties in creating a credible placebo for a distinctive product. It would have been good to have seen what the magnitude of benefit was for the saw palmetto, and what the side effects or harms might have been. It was appropriate to mention that some of the researchers in this study had ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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