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Mar 04, 2016 Article
Media portrayal of non-invasive prenatal testing: a missing ethical dimension

by Kalina Kamenova, Vardit Ravitsky, Spencer McMullin and Timothy Caulfield

Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is an emerging technology for detecting chromosomal disorders in the fetus and mass media may have an impact on shaping the public understanding of its promise and challenges. We conducted a content analysis of 173 news reports to examine how NIPT was portrayed in English-language media sources between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Our analysis has shown that media emphasized the benefits and readiness of the technology, while overlooking uncertainty associated with its clinical use. Ethical concerns were rarely addressed in the news stories, which points to an important dimension missing in the media discourse.

Volume 15 • Issue 02 • 2016

Feb 27, 2013 Article
Newspaper portrayals of spinal manipulation therapy: Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom

by Christen Rachul, Heather Boon and Timothy Caulfield

Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is a popular form of treatment for back pain among other musculoskeletal disorders, and it has received increasing media attention. Yet, despite its popularity, SMT is surrounded by controversy, mainly in regards to issues of safety and efficacy. To better understand how the media portrays SMT, we explored the content of print newspapers in Canada, the U.S., and U.K., including article framing, evidence of efficacy, risks and benefits, and the overall tone of the article in terms of whether or not the article was supporting, opposing or neutral about SMT. Results indicate that safety concerns and evidence for efficacy are rarely mentioned, but framing plays a large role in portrayals of SMT in each of the countries.

Volume 12 • Issue 01 • 2013

Sep 21, 2011 Commentary
Predictive or preposterous? The marketing of DTC genetic testing

by Timothy Caulfield

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing has generated a great deal of social controversy. While the degree to which DTC testing actually causes harm remains uncertain, there is a consensus that the information provided by these companies should be accurate. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Indeed, there are misrepresentations associated with all forms of testing, be it for superficial cosmetic services, athletic ability or disease predisposition. Countering this phenomenon will require a wide range of actions, including the use of formal regulatory mechanisms, the education of primary healthcare providers (in order to give them the tools necessary to advise patients and respond to questions) and more aggressive action by the genetic research community.

Volume 10 • Issue 03 • 2011