Friday, 19 August 2011

The Mail's 'unrealistic reporting' on health

The Mail's latest miracle cure health story is:

The article, by Fiona Macrae, says this is 'the big one':

In terms of medical achievements, this has got to be the big one – an all-in-one treatment that works against obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Astoundingly, a drug capable of doing just that could be available within three years.

And it gets better. The new treatment could be a godsend for couch potatoes, allowing them to eat as much as they like without putting on a pound. They could even receive all the benefits of exercise without leaving the sofa.

The excitement surrounds a family of drugs based on resveratrol, the ‘miracle ingredient’ in red wine credited with inhibiting the development of cancer and heart disease.

All the benefits of exercise without doing exercise? An all-in-one pill? Really?

Maybe not. The NHS Behind the Headlines team are not quite so sure this is 'the big one':

This story was unrealistically reported in the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail reports that the drug would allow people “to eat as much as they like without putting on a pound,” which is a puzzling claim since the mice treated with SRT1720 in this study actually put on weight while on the high-fat diet.

The Mail also reported that the drug could be a treatment for diabetes, heart disease and cancer, conditions that were not investigated in the study.

The reasons for the Mail hailing the “red wine pill” as a potential cure for “everything from obesity to cancer” are unclear, although it is likely to be because the research paper says that SRT1720 has similar effect to resveratrol, a chemical found in the skin of red grapes. However, there is no consensus on whether resveratrol itself has clear benefits for health...

This early stage research in mice has very limited current implications. A cure-all pill for all cardiovascular diseases and cancers - if such a thing could ever exist - is an extremely long way off in the future.

(Hat-tip to the Daily Quail)


  1. This is something that really pisses me off about the Mail. they don't seem to understand the dangers of offering health advice to people who believe what you say.

    You get over 2000 hits if you search for "to cure" on their website, they've been promising the world to people for over 10 years...

  2. I was surprised that they also ran the story about MDMA having properties that may assist in the treatment of certain cancers.

    To be honest I thought they'd brush it under the carpet, but the story is there on the Mail website and shockingly the highest rated comments are sensible.

    Daily Mail readers on E?

    Maybe they'd come to their senses...


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