Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

How to evaluate complementary health approaches reported in the news

From an article at the US National Institutes of Health (a US government agency)

News stories about complementary approaches to health are often on television, the Internet, and in magazines and newspapers.

Health news headlines from newspapers, magazines, and websites

In fact, the media is one of our main sources of information when we make decisions about complementary health approaches. While many news reports are reliable, some are missing important information, and some are confusing, conflicting, or misleading.

The 11 points include Missing Information From Health Stories,  What’s Missing: Information on Side Effects!, and Is It Real Online News? Or Just Advertising?

 

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

5 resolutions for reading and writing about health care in 2018 [Via HealthNewsReview.org]

From my “go to” place on how to evaluate health news stories

As the season of New Year’s resolutions rolls around, it’s inevitable: Health and fitness stories will dominate our news feeds in the next few days and weeks. To help both writers and readers of healthcare information, we’ve put together a few resolutions that are handy now–and any time of year:

Read–and heed–our 10 newly refurbished criteria for health news reporting and news release writing. If a news story or news release meets most or all of our criteria, you can have a greater degree of confidence that the information is accurate, balanced and complete. While the criteria are most relevant for new treatments, procedures or medical devices, they also apply to diet trends and fitness fads that are popular news topics this time of year.

Be careful with screening advice. Some surprisingly common recommendations in health care stories aren’t actually supported by high-quality evidence. For example, this NBC News story lists an annual physical as a top resolution. However, evidence-basehhd guidelines say that if you’re healthy with no symptoms, such physicals are unlikely to help you stay well and live longer. And they can lead to additional tests and treatments that may do more harm than good. This is also true for many cancer screening tests. One important reality: Cancer screenings are often unequivocally framed as important because “early detection saves lives” — messaging that minimizes the potential harms that people need to know about.

 

More at https://www.healthnewsreview.org/2018/01/4-resolutions-for-reading-and-writing-about-healthcare-in-2018/

 

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

Where do you get your health information? [Reblog]

Where do you get your health information? ‹ Reader — WordPress.com.

From a June 2015 post at drgladstone

Recently there was something in the news about roughly half of the information in the shows “the doctors” and the Dr. Oz show was correct (actually it was 63% of the time in “the doctors: and correct about 49% on the Dr. Oz show). See an article reporting on this here. Often times people will have looked things up on the internet when they come into the office.

Now I’m not bringing this up to knock Dr. Oz or the doctors who appear on “The Doctors”, nor looking things up the internet. However it’s important to ask several questions.
1) Does the claim have any scientific basis?
2) Has the study (if a study is being quoted) been replicated with the same or similar results obtained?
2a) who funded the study? was it reported in a reputable journal? If it is a product being touted, did the company making the product fund the study?
3) Does the person ‘reporting’ the results, or pushing the product have a connection with the company? Just because someone is employed or funded doesn’t necessarily mean they’re biased, but it is something to take into account

Read the entire post here

Related Resources

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

Medline Plus (National Insitutes of Health)  is a great starting point for reliable health information.Over 750 topics on conditions, diseases, and wellness.  Information on drugs, herbs, and supplements. Links to directories (health care providers, health care facilities, etc) and organizations which provide health informationSurgery videosinteractive health tutorials, and more.

Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

  Latest information for improving your health, including podcasts and videos

Image DetailThe CDC is the US government’s primary way to communicate information on diseases, conditions, and safety. Information may be found in areas as ….

Most articles include causes, symptoms, treatment options, prevention, prognosis, and more. Information may also be browsed by topic (Topics A-Z).  Additional features include picture slideshowsetools, and more. 

 

 

familydoctor.org -- health information for the whole familyFamilydoctor.org includes health information for the whole family
Short generalized information on Diseases and Conditions (with A-Z index), Health Information for Seniors, Men, and Women, Healthy Living Topics, pages geared to Parenting & Kids.  Numerous health tools in the left column (as health trackers, health assessments, and a Search by Symptom page.

Healthfinder.gov is a US government Web site with information and tools that can help you stay healthy.

 
KidsHealth provides information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years.Material is written by doctors in understandable language at three levels: parents, kids, and teens. KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens
UpToDate
UpToDate For Patients has a Patient Information tab to find information by topic or through a search box.
Topics help one to learn more about a medical condition, better understand management and treatment options, and have a better dialogue with health care providers.
 

[Adapted from Great Places to start (Univ of Toledo Consumer Health LibGuide)]

Even more….

Health Resources for All Edited by Janice Flahiff

Consumer Health Library Guide – University of Toledo
mostly link to free reputable Web sites

July 21, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Inderscience news: Unhealthy information remedy

Inderscience news: Unhealthy information remedy.
Liu has developed a simple metric that can be used to analyse a document or website and ascertain just how reliable the medical information in it might be. The metric counts the number of different health or medical terms in the longest passage of a given document

From the 2 April 2015 post

A little health knowledge can be a very dangerous thing, especially if the information comes from the Internet. Now, research published in the International Journal of Intelligent Information and Database Systems, describes a new quality indicator to remedy that situation.

Rey-Long Liu of the Department of Medical Informatics, at Tzu Chi University, in Hualien, Taiwan, explains how the internet has in many cases replaced one’s physician as the primary source of health information, particularly when someone is faced with new symptoms. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation readily available on the internet via myriad websites and networking groups that might, at first sight, offer a cure, but may lead to a putative patient following a hazardous route to health.

Liu has developed a simple metric that can be used to analyse a document or website and ascertain just how reliable the medical information in it might be. The metric counts the number of different health or medical terms in the longest passage of a given document. In experiments on thousands of real web pages evaluated manually and with this “health information concentration” metric, Liu has been able to validate with precision those pages that have genuine medical information and revealed the quackery and ill-advised health pages. The approach is much more accurate than conventional web-ranking by search engines and precludes the need for natural-language comprehension by the system.

“High-quality health information should be focused on specific health topics and hence composed of those text areas that are large enough and dedicated to health topics,” explains Liu. “The empirical evaluation reported in the paper justifies the hypothesis. The result also shows that a web page that happens to have many health terms does not necessarily contain quality health information, especially when the health terms are scattered in separate areas with a lot of non-health-related information appearing among them,” he adds. “Quality health information should be written by healthcare professionals who tend to provide both detailed and focused passages to present the information.”

The metric could readily be incorporated into search engine ranking algorithms to help healthcare consumers find high-quality information working alongside more conventional, general quality ranking parameters devised by the search engine companies for detecting relevance, importance, source and author of each webpage.

Liu, R-L. (2014) ‘Automatic quality measurement for health information on the internet’, Int. J. Intelligent Information and Database Systems, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp.340–358.

Unhealthy information remedy is a post from: David Bradley’s Science Spot

May 19, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 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

[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

[Purdue Library Website] Good Resource Tools for Medical and Health Information

Of particular note in the health/medical area….

Under the tab Health Information

DISEASES

Needless to say, I’ve added a link to this at my Health Resources for all Web site

 

December 3, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] News coverage of peanut butter Alzheimer’s test doesn’t stick

Studying Alzheimer's disease at the APS

Studying Alzheimer’s disease at the APS (Photo credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

 

From the 14 October 2013 HealthNewsReview.org item

 

CBS News online actually asked whether a scoop of peanut butter and a ruler could become the “elusive”…”single..definitive test” that could determine whether a person has Alzheimer’s disease.

I was away when this was published, but Ivan Oransky was all over it on MedPageToday.com.  Excerpts of his analysis:

Reading CBS News’s headline, “Cheap Alzheimer’s Test Made From Peanut Butter and Ruler, Researchers Report,” reminded me of the old adage “Fast, good, or cheap: Pick two.”

A couple things made me wonder just how much of an advance this was:

  • The study was small, fewer than 100 people all together, divided into four groups ranging from probable Alzheimer’s to healthy controls.
  • The journal — which is not exactly a core clinical title — is ranked in the bottom third of neuroscience journals by Thomson Scientific’s impact factor, 162 out of 252. Wouldn’t the researchers have tried for a more prestigious, and clinical, journal first?

So we asked a range of Alzheimer’s researchers what they thought. Here’s a sampling:

Richard Caselli, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale: “I don’t think anyone will feel comfortable diagnosing AD on the basis of a smell test.”

Samuel Gandy, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine: “Smell tests for dementia screening have been proposed for years, but the lack of specificity has repeatedly undone the early claims. Ditto for eye tests. This might be the exception, but I would urge caution pending independent replication on larger numbers and diversities of subjects.”

George Bartzokis, MD, UCLA: “Do not dismiss the study. What is new here is simply what they used to test it out — peanut butter. The principal problem with smell tests is that they are nonspecific and therefore only one small piece of the diagnostic puzzle. Not only can you have some congestion in your nasal cavities that can reduce your smell on a temporary basis but a past head trauma, severe past sinus infections, etc. can do so on a permanent basis. Individuals may not even remember these past events or be aware of current sinus problems that could interfere with their ability to smell.”

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone dismiss the study. But I would suggest that they dismiss much of the news coverage of the study.  Sampling of other headlines:

But the NPR Shots blog headlined it,  Why A Peanut Butter Test For Alzheimer’s Might Be Too Simple.

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2013 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog-commentary on medical journalism] This is nuts: news coverage stating that great Dads have smaller testicles

Remember…just because two factors occur together,  it doesn’t mean one necessarily causes the other!
Here, just because an involved father has smaller testicles, it does not necessarily mean that smaller
testicles enable one to be a better father!

Thinking that desires to get quick fixes or quick answers often get in the way of the necessity to take time and analyze reports objectively!

OK, I am bragging. But I have a whole Web page (with links) on how to evaluate health/medical information.

 

[Reblog from 10 September 2013 article at HealthNewsReview by Gary Schwitzer]

This is the kind of news coverage about a study that results in science and journalism about science losing credibility.  To get warmed up, check some of the headlines:

  • Great dads have smaller testicles, study suggests – CBC
  • Study: Choose Dads With Smaller ‘Nads – TIME
  • Study:  You may be a terrible dad because you have enormous testicles – Salon.com

Or see countless other silly headlines in a simple web search that will come up with probably more than 100 news stories.

It’s all based on a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Testicular volume is inversely correlated with nurturing-related brain activity in human fathers.

It doesn’t appear that Emory University, home of the authors, distorted the findings.  This Emory story states:

“Men with smaller testes than others are more likely to be involved in hands-on care of their toddlers, finds a new study by anthropologists at Emory University. …

Smaller testicular volumes also correlate with more nurturing-related brain activity in fathers as they are looking at photos of their own children, the study shows.
Our data suggest that the biology of human males reflects a trade-off between investments in mating and parenting effort,” says Emory anthropologist James Rilling, whose lab conducted the research.

The goal of the research is to determine why some fathers invest more energy in parenting than others. “It’s an important question,” Rilling says, “because previous studies have shown that children with more involved fathers have better social, psychological and educational outcomes.”  …

The study included 70 biological fathers who had a child between the ages of 1 and 2, and who were living with the child and its biological mother.

The mothers and fathers were interviewed separately about the father’s involvement in hands-on childcare, including tasks such as changing diapers, feeding and bathing a child, staying home to care for a sick child or taking the child to doctor visits.

The men’s testosterone levels were measured, and they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity as they viewed photos of their own child with happy, sad and neutral expressions, and similar photos of an unknown child and an unknown adult. Then, structural MRI was used to measure testicular volume.

The findings showed that both testosterone levels and testes size were inversely correlated with the amount of direct paternal caregiving reported by the parents in the study.”

The Emory blog post listed some of the study’s limitations:

“Although statistically significant, the correlation between testes size and caregiving was not perfect.

A key question raised by the study findings is the direction of casualty (sic: I’m sure they meant causality). “We’re assuming that testes size drives how involved the fathers are,” Rilling says, “but it could also be that when men become more involved as caregivers, their testes shrink. Environmental influences can change biology. We know, for instance, that testosterone levels go down when men become involved fathers.”

Another important question is whether childhood environment can affect testes size. “Some research has shown that boys who experience childhood stress shift their life strategies,” Rilling says. “Or perhaps fatherless boys react to the absence of their father by adopting a strategy emphasizing mating effort at the expense of parenting effort.”

While it could have been stated more clearly, that excerpt nails the huge leap from the assumptions of the study to any proof of cause-and-effect. It discussed correlation – not cause.  In other words, it’s nuts to have news headlines like the ones I listed above.

There are countless ways to poke holes in the fMRI analysis of 70 men, but I’ll leave that to the experts.

The clamor for cutesy cleverness outpaced real scrutiny in most of the stories we’ve seen.

  • A Discover blog:  “So while it certainly takes balls to be a father, bigger is not necessarily better.”
  • CNN.com: “It was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which goes by the acronym PNAS (Yes, that’s chuckle-worthy in this context, so go ahead and laugh). …When I learned of this study, I immediately feared what could happen if it gets taken out of context.  Dystopian future headline: “Deadbeat Dads Blame it on Large Family Jewels!” Dystopian future advice mothers give to daughters before marriage: “But will he be a good father? Weigh the wedding tackle!”
  • TIME.com: “Perhaps it’s time to stop obsessing over penis size, and start to think more about those underloved lads underneath. A new study has suggested that testicle size plays a role in whether or not a guy is an involved dad, but this is one time less is more: the smaller the family jewels, the better the family man.”

CNN.com quoted one of the study authors succinctly:  “Rilling says the study is not about “good” or “bad” dads.”

So again, where did all of those headlines come from?

And didn’t we have a possibly pending war, the unfolding Affordable Care Act, even another Anthony Weiner story to cover today instead of all the attention given this?

 

ADDENDUM:  This is even more nuts.  Each day I work really hard but may reach only relatively small numbers of people with articles that I think are important to try to improve the public dialogue about health care.  Today my traffic is through the roof, and it’s all because I had testicles or nuts in my headline.  And that, at least temporarily, put me in a prominent position on Google Search.  Nuts.

—————
Comments

Rob F posted on September 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

Great coverage of this crazy non-story Gary. We also looked into this on Behind the Headlines. It’s fascinating to see how a “sexy” angle can hype and distort some fairly humdrum research.

Reply

Gary Schwitzer posted on September 16, 2013 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Rob. Here’s the link to the Behind the Headlines analysis:http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/09September/Pages/Does-testicle-size-play-a-role-in-parental-ability.aspx

Reply

 

 

September 30, 2013 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Health News Items, Medical and Health Research News | , | 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

Misinformation: Why It Sticks and How to Fix It

From the 19 September 2011 article at Science News Daily

The main reason that misinformation is sticky, according to the researchers, is that rejecting information actually requires cognitive effort. Weighing the plausibility and the source of a message is cognitively more difficult than simply accepting that the message is true — it requires additional motivational and cognitive resources. If the topic isn’t very important to you or you have other things on your mind, misinformation is more likely to take hold.

And when we do take the time to thoughtfully evaluate incoming information, there are only a few features that we are likely to pay attention to: Does the information fit with other things I believe in? Does it make a coherent story with what I already know? Does it come from a credible source? Do others believe it?

Misinformation is especially sticky when it conforms to our preexisting political, religious, or social point of view. Because of this, ideology and personal worldviews can be especially difficult obstacles to overcome.

Even worse, efforts to retract misinformation often backfire, paradoxically amplifying the effect of the erroneous belief.

“This persistence of misinformation has fairly alarming implications in a democracy because people may base decisions on information that, at some level, they know to be false,” says Lewandowsky….

In their report, Lewandowsky and colleagues offer some strategies for setting the record straight.

  • Provide people with a narrative that replaces the gap left by false information
  • Focus on the facts you want to highlight, rather than the myths
  • Make sure that the information you want people to take away is simple and brief
  • Consider your audience and the beliefs they are likely to hold
  • Strengthen your message through repetition
  • 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


Additional Resources

 
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.

September 21, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

Grasping and even celebrating uncertainty ( How Journalists Can Aid Critical Thinking in Healthcare Decisions) With Resources By Yours Truly

As you regular followers of this blog realize, I champion critical thinking and hope at least some of these blog posts have fostered this approach to selecting what is best for one’s health.
Many of my posts caution against quick fixes, be it fad diets, supplement dependence, or use of potentially harmful complementary medicine substances. To be fair, I have also posted items questioning “Western medicine” practices as when robotic surgery is appropriate.

Gary Schwitzer at HealthNewsReview.org has posted yet another item on how journalists can help us all in healthcare decisions..
Excerpts

Marya Zilberberg posted, “Fast science: No time for uncertainty.”  Excerpt:

“…my anxiety about how we do clinical science overall is not new; this blog is overrun with it. However, the new branch of that anxiety relates to something I have termed “fast science.” Like fast food it fills us up, but the calories are at best empty and at worst detrimental. What I mean is that science is a process more than it is a result, and this process cannot and should not be microwaved….

So, let’s celebrate uncertainty. Let’s take time to question, answer and question again. Slow down, take a deep breath, cook a slow meal and think.”

That’s similar to how I ended my talk at the University of Wisconsin’s event, “Science Writing in the Age of Denial” this week.  I said that:

“Journalists could help people grasp uncertainty and help them apply critical thinking to health care decision-making issues…rather than promote false certainty, shibboleths and non-evidence-based, cheerleading advocacy.”

Related Resources (from my Health/Medical  News & Resources Web site)
  • 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.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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