Accurate, informative, and accessible—phenomenal piece on cellular aging and changes in the brain by Neuroscience News
This news article covers the idea of telomeres and how they can affect the way the human body ages. The focus is on a recent study that observed a link between telomere length and cerebral cortex thickness. The cerebral cortex naturally becomes thinner as the body ages, and this article reports that shorter telomeres tended to result in thinner layers of grey matter in the cortex. The news article does an effective job at summarizing the study. It does not attempt to make any claims of its own, so all of the information posted is directly from the journal itself. The title is also effective at remaining true to the researcher’s results, by maintaining that there is a link between the two variables and not suggesting any actual causation, which is a trap that most scientific websites fall into to generate more clicks. The news article was able to condense the information in the study in a clear and concise manner without losing any vital data.
As stated before, the article is very accurate in the sense that it does not sense to mislead or to push the author’s own agenda. It effectively describes what is known about the topic, what the study’s findings were, what the study’s findings suggest, and what is still unknown. Contradicting data was also presented at the end, with no particular stance being taken by the author, instead they just suggested that more research be done on the specific area.
The language used throughout the news article is effective at conveying the desired message. The core findings made by the researcher are not overshadowed by any intention to incite fear or advertise a product. The author also does not take a stance or opinion on the subject, but rather informs the reader of the info and encourages them to decide on their own. There is some jargon that was used in the article that was not explained, but for the most part, the target audience should not have trouble understanding the subject matter, as it was made largely accessible to a broad demographic.
The accessibility section is where this news article suffers from a few shortcomings. The main issue with this article is the fact that there is no contact information for whoever wrote this article specifically. The website provides social media and email contact options for the team as a whole, but no such options for the author. The article, however, does a good job at citing the sources it uses, even though it doesn’t use very many.
This piece presents itself in a clean and relatively classy manner. Social media prompts are tucked away at the top of the webpage and the website’s ads are on the side of the page to ensure they are not intrusive at all. The article only uses one image, which is a diagram meant to help the reader understand the topic. There is one bolded section at the beginning of the article, which provides background knowledge on telomeres that the reader must know in order to understand the research findings.
This article discusses the role of telomeres in the aging process of the human body, specifically the recent finding that there is a correlation between telomere shortening and the reduction of grey matter in the cerebral cortex. Telomeres, caps at the end of chromosomes that become shorter during each cell division, protect DNA from becoming damaged. For this reason, telomere length is used to approximate biological age; longer telomeres are indicative of a younger biological age which is associated with decreased risk of disease. The study of interest examined the relationship between telomere length and brain structure (another indicator of health and aging) and found a relationship between telomere length and thickness of the cortex. The Neuroscience News article accurately depicts the findings of the study in an unbiased and concise manner. Furthermore, the author does not suggest any unjustified causation and effectively discusses the possible implications of the research. These factors contribute to the successful communication of the original article’s findings to a non-professional audience.
The Neuroscience News article is very clear—it accurately depicts the findings of the original article without misleading the audience. The language used in this piece is generally accessible for the target audience, and in the cases that it is not, the author provides additional explanation. The use of an image and bold text at the beginning of the article is effectively used to support the reader’s understanding of the research.
In terms of accessibility, the news article is insufficient in several minor areas. The article lacks the specific credentials and contact information for the author of the piece; although, it does provide contact information for the publication team generally. Further, while the article does an excellent job at citing the original research piece, it does not cite any other sources- this is indicative of possible bias present in the article. However, the article of interest is open access, therefore the original research is accessible to the audience of this piece for comparison.
The views expressed by the reviewers for this article are not endorsed or shared by SciFeye. The interpretation of the review of the news story using the SciFeye Index was done independently by two SciFeye reviewers. We encourage you to conduct your own evaluation of the accuracy and quality of the news story using the Index.