ACCA STUDENTS CAREER GUIDANCE AT HOLIDAY INN
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Like on a recently completed phase 2 trial of botox for depression (which the CBS story doesn’t mention) the article also omitted any specific description of the benefit, harms, alternative treatments for major depression and how botox might compare with them. The CBS story does, however, provide readers with a cost reference, something the release didn’t do.
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It should also be noted that this single anecdote story ended with a quote from that one patient. Coincidentally, today, at the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference, this advice was given by a veteran journalist and academic Jacqui Banaszynski: “Be careful if you end a story with a quote because whoever you give the last quote to you give the story to.” Be careful, because this tends to bias the reader’s perception, as this story may have done.
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This story does give us an explanation by Dr. Finzi that facial muscles are part of a brain circuit related to mood such that “Botox basically inhibits the muscle and calms it down, so it becomes more difficult to feel those negative emotions.” It’s hard to give much credence to that statement, though, when the story provides no effects of the treatment in the first place, much less any support for the mechanism it proposes.
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The article does not engage in disease mongering. It does provide some background on how botox is believed to work on depression and other approved clinical uses for botox. The story would have been better had it given us some idea of how many people are affected by major depressive disorder.