Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

How to make sense of articles in scientific journals

Have you ever come across a scientific article and it just seems too dense to read? And you want to share the information with your health care provider or a family member or friend?
Here’s some tips that just might help out!

From a Web page at the National Institutes of Health (A US government agency)

Know the Science: 9 Questions To Help You Make Sense of Health Research

Almost every day, new findings on medical research are published, some of which may include complementary health approaches.

Research studies about medical treatments and practices published in scientific journals are often the sources of news stories and can be important tools in helping you manage your health.

sight + document = understanding

But finding scientific journal articles, understanding the studies they describe, and interpreting the results can be challenging.

One way to make it easier to understand information you find in a scientific journal is to share the information with your health care providers and get their opinions. Once you understand the basics and terminology of scientific research, you have one more tool to help you make better, informed decisions about your health.

Here are 9 questions that can help you make sense of a scientific research article.

The article goes on to answer 9 questions, including

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Carnegie Mellon, Pitt Ethicists Question Impact of Hospital Advertisi

About 20 years ago I started thinking along similar lines. Now I am at a point questioning if it is ethical to profit from health care. Two years as a Peace Corps volunteer (back in 1980/81 in Liberia, West Africa) changed my views on many topics considerably. Also I think it was the wonderful humanistic/social justice  tone of grade school religious textbooks, notably 8th grade back in 1969.

Summary (from EurkAlert!)
Ethicists question the impact of health information that is available online, specifically hospital advertisements, and argue that while the Internet offers patients valuable data and tools — including hospital quality ratings and professional treatment guidelines – that may help them when facing decisions about where to seek care or whether to undergo a medical procedure, reliable and unbiased information may be hard to identify among the growing number of medical care advertisements online.

From the 30 January 2015 Carnegie Mellon press release

In a commentary piece published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Carnegie Mellon University’s Alex John London and the University of Pittsburgh’s Yael Schenkerquestion the impact of health information that is available online, specifically hospital advertisements. London and Schenker argue that while the Internet offers patients valuable data and tools — including hospital quality ratings and professional treatment guidelines — that may help them when facing decisions about where to seek care or whether to undergo a medical procedure, reliable and unbiased information may be hard to identify among the growing number of medical care advertisements online.

“The marketing objective of selling services by making them seem attractive to consumers can create tensions or outright conflict with the ethical imperative of respect for persons, since the latter requires that patients make medical decisions in light of balanced information about the full range of risks and benefits associated with their care,” said London, professor of philosophy in CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy.

Referencing a research article in the same journal issue that found hospital websites failed to disclose risk information for transaortic valve replacement (TAVR), a recently approved procedure to treat patients whose aortic valve does not open fully, London and Schenker pinpoint four risk concerns for patients seeking medical information online:

1. Identifying Advertising — Hospital websites often have the appearance of an education portal, leaving patients to assume that the information presented is informational, not persuasive.

2. Finding Unbiased Information — Unlike FDA-regulated direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs, hospital advertising is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and subject to the same “reasonable” standards applied to advertisements for common consumer goods such as cars and cereal. While hospital advertisements may describe specific medical interventions that entail significant
risks, there is no legal requirement that these risks be disclosed.

3. Recognizing Incomplete or Imbalanced Information — Poor-quality medical information is hard to recognize unless the person reading it is a trained clinician.

4. Influence on Health Care Decisions — As patients seek out information online, the quality of their decision-making and care choices will be influenced by the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information they are likely to encounter.

To begin to fix the risk to patients seeking medical information online, London and Schenker recommend to clearly label hospital websites as advertisements; allocate resources to created balanced online informational tools; and focus future attention on not only the content of health care advertising but its impact.

For more information, visit http://www.hss.cmu.edu/philosophy/faculty-london.php.

 

Related Resource

  • Evaluating Health Information (Health Resources for All, Edited by JaniceFlahiff)
    • The Penn State Medical Center Library has a great guide to evaluate health information on the Internet.

      The tips include

      • Remember, anyone can publish information on the internet!
      • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
        If the Web site is primarily about selling a product, the information may be worth checking from another source.
      • Look for who is publishing the information and their education, credentials, and if they are connected with a trusted coporation, university or agency.
      • Check to see how current the information is.
      • Check for accuracy. Does the Web site refer to specific studies or organizations?
    • How to Evaluate Health Information on the Internet (US National Cancer Institute)

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exaggeration in health science news releases & what were going to do about it

Exaggeration in health science news releases & what were going to do about it.
Longish article delving into reasons for the exaggerations and what can be done.

Excerpt

 

Earle Holland,  who retired as Assistant VP for Research Communications at Ohio State University, wrote me that he thought the big “take-away” statements from the paper were these:

  • “The blame—if it can be meaningfully apportioned—lies mainly with the increasing culture of university competition and self promotion, interacting with the increasing pressures on journalists to do more with less time.”
  • “If the majority of exaggeration occurs within academic establishments, then the academic community has the opportunity to make an important difference to the quality of biomedical and health related news.”
  • “What we do argue is that appropriate claims are a necessary starting point, that misleading claims can do harm, and that since many such claims originate within universities, the scientific community has the ability to improve this situation.”

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] 9 out of 10 health entries on Wikipedia are inaccurate, study finds

From the 14 May 2014 post at Venture Beat News

Millions of people around the world immediately go to the Web for information after feeling a mysterious ache, pain, rash, or bump. This often results in either a panic attack or a false sense of calm. Doctors have warned against this practice since the days of Netscape, and now a new report puts some science behind their fears.

Researchers at Campbell University in North Carolina compared Wikipedia entries on 10 of the costliest health problems with peer-reviewed medical research on the same illnesses. Those illnesses included heart disease, lung cancer, depression, and hypertension, among others.

The researchers found that nine out of the 10 Wikipedia entries studied contained inaccurate and sometimes dangerously misleading information. “Wikipedia articles … contain many errors when checked against standard peer-reviewed sources,” the report states. “Caution should be used when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care.”

At Wikipedia anybody can contribute to entries on health problems — no medical training (or even common sense) is required.

“While Wikipedia is a convenient tool for conducting research, from a public health standpoint patients should not use it as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals,” said the report’s lead author, Dr. Robert Hasty in a statement.

And there’s a lot of health information on Wikipedia. The site contains more than 31 million entries, and at least 20,000 of them are health-related, the report says.

The study findings were published in this month’s Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. You can see the full text of the study here.

Via: Daily Mail

More about the companies and people from this article:

Wikipedia is a project operated by a non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation, and created and maintained by a strong community of 80,000 international active volunteer editors. Founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia has be… read more »

Powered by VBProfiles

Related Resources

How to evaluate health information (flahiff.google.com)

Evaluating health information (MedlinePlus)

How to evaluate health information (NIH)

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

[Slideshare on health reporting] Lessons from 1,889 story reviews

Lessons from 1,889 story reviews.

Forty-five slides on how to evaluate medical/health news articles.

By  Publisher, HealthNewsReview.org at HealthNewsReview.org on Apr 01, 2014

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 4.59.20 AM

 Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 5.03.43 AM

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

May 10, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-diagnosis on Google, other websites the first line of medical care for more than half of Canadians: poll

 

forn1067l

 

Related Resources

Millions of consumers get health information from magazines, TV or the Internet. Some of the information is reliable and up to date; some is not. How can you tell the good from the bad?

First, consider the source. If you use the Web, look for an “about us” page. Check to see who runs the site: Is it a branch of the government, a university, a health organization, a hospital or a business? Focus on quality. Does the site have an editorial board? Is the information reviewed before it is posted? Be skeptical. Things that sound too good to be true often are. You want current, unbiased information based on research.

July 31, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumer Health Digest Archive (and Links to Related Health Fraud Information Sites)

From the archive http://www.ncahf.org/digest12/index.html

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H.. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; other news items; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; research tips; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making. The Digest currently has 11,082 subscribers. Items posted to this archive may be updated when relevant information becomes available.


Issue #12-35, October 11, 2012

  • Pediatricians warn against home trampoline use
  • High-quality fluoride information posted
  • “Life coach” loses suit against nutrition licensing board
  • FTC halts dubious insurance plan

Issue #12-34, October 4, 2012

  • Romney campaign embraces Lyme quackery
  • Vitamin D supplementation fails to prevent colds
  • Quantum quackery criticized

Issue #12-33, September 27, 2012

  • Stem cell scammers plead guilty
  • Prominent psychiatric critic dies
  • Medifast subsidiary settles FTC charges

Issue #12-32, September 20, 2012

  • Portland City Council votes to fluoridate.
  • Physicist details why homeopathy is impossible
  • Massachusetts will post more about disciplinary actions

Issue #12-31, September 6, 2012

  • IOM publishes health-care system critique
  • Ginkgo flunks another big Alzheimer’s prevention trial
  • AMA specialty journals will be renamed in 2

 

Related Resources

  • Don’t be fooled by health fraud scams (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
  • Evaluating Health Information on the Internet (US National Cancer Institute)
    This fact sheet contains information to help people decide whether the health information they find on the Internet or receive via e-mail from a Web site is likely to be reliable.
  • Quackwatch (a private corporation operated by Stephen Barrett, MD)
  • Consumer’s Guide to Taking Charge of Health Information (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis)
  • The Penn State Medical Center Library has a great guide to evaluate health information on the Internet.
    • The tips include
      • Remember, anyone can publish information on the internet
      • If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
      • If the Web site is primarily about selling a product, the information may be worth checking from another source.
      • Look for who is publishing the information and their education, credentials, and if they are connected with a trusted coporation, university or agency.
      • Check to see how current the information is.
      • Check for accuracy. Does the Web site refer to specific studies or organizations?
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance has a Web page entitled Evaluating Medical Research Findings and Clinical Trials
    Topics include

    • General Guidelines for Evaluating Medical Research
    • Getting Information from the Web
    • Talking with your Health Care Provider
  • And a Rumor Control site of Note (in addition to Quackwatch)
     

    National Council Against Health Fraud

    National Council Against Health Fraud is a nonprofit health agency fousing on health misinformation, fruad, and quackery as public health problems. Links to publications, position papers and more.

 

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: