Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Media Hype in Genetics??? Blame the Geneticists

First, I would like to say thank you once again to GTO.

A recent article published in Nature genetics reviewed some research done by Bubela & Caulfield. This study indicates that the journalist "hype" was actually in agreement with the original source's "hype". The story entitled "How geneticists can help reporters to get their story right" is also covered at Uncommon Ground

Scientists have a social responsibility to talk knowledgeably with reporters, and to do so is in the interest of science in an era when public funding and control over science is significant. However, some scientists avoid this task because it is onerous. At a minimum, it requires the same level of preparation that one would give to a platform presentation at a scientific conference. Such time and care are warranted, because the reach of the reporter is larger than that of the academic conference.

Well, I wonder if when pressed for a deadline, the journalist will rely on the press release written by the company/institution/PRrep.Or perhaps they will take the time to track down these scientists and physicians.....Maybe a savvy journalist can help me. Misha????

The enthusiasm of scientists for their work can feed such hype (as can the demands for grant funding). For example, in 1993, medical geneticist W. French Anderson predicted that soon, “…any physician can take a vial off a shelf and inject an appropriate gene into a patient.”18
The enthusiasm for the prospects of gene therapy among some members of the
scientific community drove a tidal wave of optimistic reporting that suggested a 10-year
time frame for gene therapy as practically cure-all. The optimism was immensely
overstated, at least for the time period for which it was predicted.

True enough......Maybe we do have to quote Pogo

The Sherpa Says: As long as scientists and journalists want to hype, I will be there to debunk. Just for you. Oh and by the way, MikeLeavitt and the HHS has just posted their report on Personalized Healthcare Prospects. The future, its here.

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