Whenever I hear about new medical research, I always ask one question first: who funded it?
Too often, reporters â€” even reporters for respected news sources like Reuters â€” don’t give us this essential information when they cover new studies.
Take, for example, the flurry of recent news items with titles like “Morning sickness linked to smarter babies” and “Study links morning sickness to higher IQ.” I found this kind of an intriguing idea, so I read the Reuters article. The article didn’t mention the study’s funder, but the very small size of the group they studied, and the fact that they also studied the safety of a drug for morning sickness, made me suspicious.
A quick visit to the website of the Journal of Pediatrics, the study’s publisher, showed me I was right: the fine print on the abstract indicated that the study was funded by the maker of the anti-nausea drug, and one of the study’s authors is a paid consultant for the company. Why, exactly, didn’t Reuters think this was worth mentioning?
The only article I found (on an admittedly cursory search) that brought up the obvious problems with the study was this one on the website doublex.com.