A new neuroscience study entitled “A Novel Protein Target for Aging-Associated Neuronal Degeneration” led to a flurry of reports in the news. These reports had such titles as “Are Proteins Involved in Neuronal Degeneration? IDK, I didn’t read the study,” “Can Books in Department Stores Revolutionize Science? Target Novel Shows Promising Results,” and “New Study Implies that all Diseases will be Eradicated by End of 2016.”
The media has a long history of misunderstandings in the realm of science, including a recent incident in which a new mouse model led to a plethora of headlines regarding animal cruelty at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Another model organism noted in the article to have been seen at the show, the fruit fly Drosophila Melanogaster, weighed in at less than a gram, leading the media to criticize unrealistic beauty standards in the modeling industry.
Other examples of the media’s misinterpretations of science include:
“A New DNA Mutation in the Domesticated Chicken Provides for More Sustainable Meat Production” was reported as “Is there DNA in Your Meat? The Shocking Truth that Food Corporations Don’t Want you to Know”
“The Potential of Gene Therapy in Medicine” was reported as “New Study Finds that Wearing Denim Pants Can Cure Disease”
“New PET Scan Analysis Algorithm shows Potential in Diagnosing Psychiatric Disorders" was reported as "Putting your Dog in Brain Scanners could Reveal Mental Illnesses"
“Apolipoprotein-E Epsilon 4 Mutation Implicated in Development of Alzheimer’s” was reported as “Longest Frat Name in United States Found”
“New Vaccine Ineffective Against Rabies in Cats*” was reported as “OMG OMG LOOK AT THESE ADORABLE CAT PICTURES”
Several Weeks Later, it was reported as “News Reporters Honored for Death of Rabies on Job, Memorial in Hometown Prepared with their Award-Winning Cat Photos”
A recent survey of scientists found that with regards to the issue of media miscommunication of scientific topics, 41% “sees this as a problem”, 2% “sees this as a non-issue”, and 57% “would like to go get cupcakes.” From this survey, the media reported that over 99% of scientists do not believe media misinterpretation of research to be a “significant problem”.
Media corporations say that in response to this growing problem, significant action must be taken. They believe that a “fair and just solution” to this “minor issue” is a “large CEO pay raise.”
Disclaimer: This article is intended purely as satire. As such, any resemblance to existing persons living or dead, events, or locations, is purely coincidental. Any references to well-known celebrities, locations, events, or corporate entities is intended purely as fiction, and all statements made in this article are intended to be interpreted as such; no statement made should be interpreted as fact. The YNCA Journal holds high standards of quality and respect. Thus, should any entity want us to change the names used in our article, the YNCA editing staff will promptly rectify this problem. Please contact YNCA.email@example.com with any queries regarding the aforementioned service. Furthermore, we at the YNCA realize that neurodegenerative disorders are far from a laughing matter and do not in any way intend to treat them as such--our sole aim in this article is to make light of the poor relationship between certain media reports and scientific truth. We understand that many news outlets focus on accurate reporting in the sciences, and do not mean to criticize all outlets but instead call attention to the problems arising from when reports come out inaccurate. The YNCA extends a sincere and heartfelt apology to anyone who may find this article offensive. The YNCA does not intend to give any medical advice, and no statement in this article should be interpreted as such.
*The Rabies vaccines currently available are, to the best of our knowledge at the YNCA, effective. Rabies can be prevented after exposure to infected animals with a vaccine, and it is important to contact a licensed doctor if exposed.
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