Does The Science Justify The Headline?

930 words - 4 pages

The news article “Eating pizza can help prevent sunburn,” was published in 2008 by the Daily Record. (Reference) The article was written based upon a journal article that was later published in the British Journal of Dermatology, however this is not recognised in the article itself. The news article starts with the sentence “Eating pizza can make you look younger, experts claim yesterday.” It then goes on to explain that the effect is from tomato paste being consumed rather than eating pizza. It goes on to say that the people in the study who ate tomato paste every day for three months were one third less likely to get sunburn than the control group in the study were. Sunburn and sun damage ...view middle of the document...

The title of the research article claims that lycopene helps humans, however only females were used in the study. Therefore it would be false to say that this study proved lycopene helped all humans when the results only show an improvement in UVR erythemal sensitivity in females. Another problem with the cohort used is that it only had twenty participants at the start of the study of which only seventeen completed the study which is not a large enough group to say that they represent the population. A dropout rate of 15% is fairly high because this was a small study to start with and only a few had to drop out, however it is still valid. Of this seventeen, nine were taking the active treatment and eight were taking the control.
The study only used white women with phototype one or two skin. This means that all the women used were susceptible to burning (Skin Cancer Foundation, 2014) and although that is a limited type, it supports the newspaper article more by using people who do burn than if darker skinned individuals were used.
The study does address an appropriate and clearly focused question. The studies question specifies tomato paste, rather than tomatoes or general tomato products, as lycopene has more bioavailability in the form of processed tomato paste than in fresh tomatoes. The study also specifically uses tomato paste mixed with olive oil which is not specified in the title, however in the discussion it is revealed as to why it is used as it has an increased absorption when consumed with an oily medium. In the discussion it also suggests that other...

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