How can I find out more information about a study reported everywhere in the news?
March 12, 2008 5:44 PM   Subscribe

I was very interested in the study reported everywhere in the news today (for example: CNN) regarding how 1 in 4 teen girls has or has had an STD, however every single article was exactly the same leading me to believe they were all simply summarizing a press release. I'd like more info but where should I look for it? (Places I've tried inside)

Ok, the articles all refer to a CDC study, but the CDC website has nothing about this. Google Scholar shows only old articles. The actual news articles don't give enough info to find the original study. So what are my other methods for tracking down more info?
posted by katyjack to Science & Nature (10 answers total)

Also. Looks like the presentation is to be given tomorrow morning.
posted by desjardins at 5:56 PM on March 12, 2008

It's going to be presented as a talk at a conference in Chicago tomorrow. Here's the abstract.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:59 PM on March 12, 2008

And you can find the raw data here.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:02 PM on March 12, 2008

Many times widely "reported" articles about studies come from press releases for studies that are about to be published, so it can help to wait a few days before going after the fulltext. I usually start with searching the lead author's name.
posted by OmieWise at 6:12 PM on March 12, 2008

OmneWise is correct about the news being generated by press releases rather than by published articles. A technique I find quite useful: If you know the agency, university, etc. which is responsible for the study you can look for their PR department online. Usually there is a phone number. The PR office loves to give out the full citation and often the entire article or study. I can't remember a single time this hasn't worked for me.
posted by dipolemoment at 7:06 PM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Looks like desjardins and mr_roboto nailed this one.

This study shocked me until I realized that they are including HPV in the STDs. In which case I'm actually surprised it is so low.
posted by Justinian at 7:17 PM on March 12, 2008

+ Justinian- The CNN article has a pretty good breakdown.

Relevant bit:
The study by CDC researcher Dr. Sara Forhan is an analysis of nationally representative data on 838 girls who participated in a 2003-04 government health survey. Teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4 percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and herpes simplex virus, 2 percent.
So they didn't even test for syphilis or AIDS or the various Hepatitises. The "one in four" headline really doesn't reflect the reality of the study.
posted by gjc at 7:38 PM on March 12, 2008

How common is HPV?
At least 50% of sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives. Every year in the United States (U.S.), about 6.2 million people get HPV. HPV is most common in young women and men who are in their late teens and early 20s.
posted by desjardins at 8:08 PM on March 12, 2008

The reason that every article you're seeing is exactly the same is that it comes from the Associated Press, not that they're all rewrites of the same press release. Important difference.
posted by jjg at 8:59 PM on March 12, 2008

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