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Table 1 Cautions added when appropriate by study type

From: Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of “spin” in health news stories reporting studies of pharmacologic treatments on patients’/caregivers’ interpretation of treatment benefit

Study typeCaution added when appropriate
Animal or laboratory study“However, it may take years to know whether this treatment will be beneficial and safe for humans. In fact, less than 1% of the drugs tested on animals/cell culture are approved for clinical use in patients.”
Small study“The treatment was tested on small number of patients; (…) Larger studies are needed to understand whether the treatment will be beneficial and safe.”
Uncontrolled study/lack of comparator“Everyone in this study took this treatment. Without investigating patients who did not take this treatment, it is impossible to know whether taking this treatment accounted for the improved outcome or not. In fact, less than 10% of the drugs tested in preliminary clinical studies are approved for clinical use in patients. More research is needed to (…)”
Non-randomized study“We do not know whether it was the treatment or something else that really accounted for the effect observed. In fact, less than 10% of the drugs tested in preliminary clinical studies are approved for clinical use in patients. More research is needed to (…)”
RCTCautions were reported according to the limitations of the published RCT or identified by the reviewer.
  1. Depending on the study, some limitations could be added and the wording could be modified
  2. RCT randomized controlled trial