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Interpreting the Latest Health News

Posted by bmagnus On September - 18 - 2009

Every day, somewhere in the world, there is scientific research on health and medicine being published. And that research is in turn summarized and reported by the media. Regrettably, much of that research or its media coverage is misinterpreted or conflicting or even misleading. When the news reports that something is good for you one day, and the next week reports that the same thing is bad for you, it’s easy to give up altogether. Thankfully, Dr. Alicia White has thought about these issues and brings several tips to interpret the latest health and medical news.

Her Take: Frankly, a lot of her tips are things you will see here: we try to go back to the original research paper where we can; we point out how many people were involved in the study — if there were actual humans; we try to give an overview of the science behind the story; we point out when the headline doesn’t match the facts; sometimes we call things nonsense based on what we find. It is sad that we can’t necessarily trust the media to actually check these things before going before the public. The sad truth is that a sensational-sounding story gets a lot more play than yet another item on how exercise and a sensible diet can keep you healthy.

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