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"Epsom salts protect against cerebral palsy risk: study"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 28 Aug 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (2 stars)

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

Giving Epsom salts to women at risk of preterm delivery cuts the rate of cerebral palsy in their babies by nearly half, a study suggests.

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of neurological disorders affecting control of movement and posture that limit activity. Brain damage may occur during pregnancy or early childhood. Its causes are not well understood, but a third of all cases are associated with preterm birth, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 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 Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not 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)

While this article may be considered a more alternative medicine story (and thus somewhat difficult to rate with our current criteria), the use of Epsom salts have been "pharmaceuticalized" in this context.

The report did mention both the benefits and harms of this treatment however, only quantified the benefits. In addition to considering how this incomplete picture may overemphasize the successes of this treatment, we must be aware that only one third of all cerebral palsy cases are associated with preterm birth- the later fact being successfully included at the start of the story.

We are given evidence that the Epsom treatment reduced the incidence of cerebral palsy (compared to a placebo), but we aren't given much information about the nature of the study and about the potential conflicts of interest associated with it. Including this information (as well as details of treatment availability and cost) would provide a more complete picture of this treatment option and allow us, as readers, to make an evidence-based decision.

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