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"Cholesterol-lowering drugs may reduce the risk of cataracts"

Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Published: 21 Jun 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (1½ stars)

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

CHICAGO (AP) - Statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs taken by millions of North Americans, might also reduce the risk of cataracts, a preliminary study suggests.
Adults who took statins were found to be 45 per cent less likely to develop the most common type of age-related cataracts.
Other researchers warned that something other than statins might explain the results and that the study does not prove cause-effect....

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not 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)

This study on the link between cholesterol-lowering drugs and the development of cataracts has a number of flaws, particularly the second sentence which said: "Adults who took statins were found to be 45 per cent less likely to develop the most common type of age-related cataracts." 45% sounds impressive but it begs the question, "45% of what?" While there is a careful and appropriate caveat coming afterwards (that there may be something else at work) the impression left with the reader is that there is a cause and effect relation. Journalists, when they see this kind of association reported should strive to remind the reader that association does not mean causation.

Although comments from several sources were cited in the article, the article lacked detail on the adverse events of cholesterol lowering drugs. If the benefit is seen in cataract prevention there could be a clearer explanation of the mechanism of action

public forum

(02 Oct 2022) Eva Marsh writes,

"Just because 2 things seem to happen at the same time does NOT mean they are related by cause/effect. I would need a lot more evidence and some hard facts to buy this."

Media Doctor response,

"The report of the study does say that there is no proof for cause and effect. We too would want to see better evidence in order to 'buy' a causal relationship."

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