Observational studies: Does the language fit the evidence? Association vs. causation

by Mark Zweig, MD, and Emily DeVoto, PhD, two people who have thought a lot about how reporters cover medical research back to “Tips for Understanding Studies”[1] A health writer’s first attempt at expressing results from a new observational study read, “Frequent fish consumption was associated with a 50% reduction in the relative risk of dying from a heart attack.”...

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Causal interpretation of correlational studies – Analysis of medical news on the website of the official journal for German physicians

Introduction Media regularly report on health research results. Since randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard for questions about benefits and harms of medical interventions, it would be expected that results from RCTs with patient-relevant endpoints would be reported in the media more frequently than observational studies. However, studies with lower methodological quality are cited just as frequently [1–3]....

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Causal overstatements reduced in press releases following academic study of health news

Version 2. Wellcome Open Res. 2020; 5: 6. , Conceptualization, Formal Analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Project Administration, Writing – Original Draft Preparation,1, Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Project Administration, Writing – Original Draft Preparation,2, Conceptualization, Formal Analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Project Administration, Writing – Review & Editing,1, Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – Review & Editing,1, Conceptualization, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Writing – Review &...

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