Alan Mozes, published on WebMD, covers a review of 11 studies that suggests that yoga may be beneficial for the brain. The original review compiled the data from each of the studies to examine how yoga impacts brain health. Ultimately, the review suggested that there is evidence that yoga increases the size of “key” brain areas. Mozes effectively condenses the information presented by the review in the WebMD article to communicate the research findings to the audience.
This news article is clear and lacks obvious bias or conflict of interest. The author’s diction is appropriate for the audience- the lay public, and any complex terminology used is relevant and is subsequently defined. Mozes accurately and appropriately communicates what is known, what remains unknown, and the areas that require further exploration. Causation and correlation are not confused; however, pertaining to quotes, the choices made are less appropriate. The neurologist interviewed for the article, Dr. Vidic, is not an expert in the field—as is evident upon research into his background.
The article contains quotes throughout from an author of the review, other researchers in the field, and a medical doctor (Dr. Vidic). These serve to effectively support the discussion of the results; however, there are no supporting links to the original research documents. The lack of accessibility to the original review and supporting sources used makes it more difficult for the reader to assess the credibility of the statements made and to form their own educated opinions. Additionally, the abundant advertisements present throughout the article distract from the text because to their aggressive nature.
This news article was originally published in HealthDay and then republished on WebMD, a popular medicine-based website whose target audience is the general public. The author writes about a recent review of 11 published brain scan studies published in Brain Plasticity that supposedly has found a relationship between yoga and increased size of key brain areas. Overall, the article was well-written, fair, and analytical. The article was written in lay terms and scientific language that may be unfamiliar to the general public is well-explained. Multiple perspectives were taken with no precedence given to either – the author simply presented the facts. Thus, I give it a 5 out of 5.
There was no use of clickbait or any logical fallacies and the information seemed to be accurate containing claims directly from the paper, quotes from the study authors, and even an opinion from an outside source who is also well-versed in neurology. The language was well-chosen for the target audience, with no inappropriate use of jargon nor any charged opinions. The author stayed very neutral and presented the study results in an easily digestible way.
That being said, the problems lie in the accessibility of this article. First of all, on WebMD, this article is technically republished so it is difficult to find the contact information of the author and read into their past works as well. Furthermore, there is no direct link to the original review study. There is information given on the publishing date and the journal, but without any direct link to the original review, I could not compare the author claims to the original conclusions; however, it did not seem to be too important overall since the author still had direct quotes from different sources and also highlighted knowns and unknowns of the research.
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