WTF is wrong with the media in the UK?

alz-brain-scan_origSome potentially exciting news has been announced and the UK media are all over it …

The Telegraph …

Breakthrough as scientists create first drug to halt Alzheimer’s disease

pill taken twice a day has stalled deterioration of the brain in Alzheimer’s patients for the first time.

Scientists announced that the mental decline of participants in a final-stage trial had been halted for 18 months, raising hopes that an effective treatment for the drug, called LMTX, is close at hand.

New Scientist …

Unprecedented Alzheimer’s drug slows disease by 80 per cent

“Our results are unprecendented, compared with anyone else’s,” says Claude Wischik  at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and co-founder of the firm TauRx Pharmaceuticals, which developed LMTX.


Many others including The Times and also the BBC are carrying a similar story and so the message to the UK public is that a new dramatic discovery has been made.

Ever so slight flaw … its all rather sadly complete bollocks and none of them appears to have fact-checked.

The Skeptical Bit

The problem with the above stories doing the rounds in the UK media about the new LMTX wonder-drug is that LMTX has failed its clinical trials and does not actually work.

Interestingly enough the US media got it right. The New York Times reports …

Alzheimer’s Drug LMTX Falters in Final Stage of Trials

A new type of drug for Alzheimer’s disease failed to slow the rate of decline in mental ability and daily functioning in its first large clinical trial. There was a hint, though, that it might be effective for certain patients.

…Over all, the patients who received LMTX, which was developed by TauRx Therapeutics, did not have a slower rate of decline in mental ability or daily functioning than those in the control group.

… Dr. Rachelle Doody, director of the Alzheimer’s disease and Memory Disorders Center at Baylor College of Medicine, agreed. “To present it to the public now as a promising approach seems unjustified,” she said.

Luckily some have been having a go at the media about this …

(Side note: RCT = Randomised Clinical Trial)

Dr Ben Goldacre tweets to Chris Smyth about his front page article within The Times claiming it to be a new breakthrough …

Forbes earns the Gold star – they really got this right

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