it’s difficult to make sense of all of the medical and health
information we hear about on the news, on the web, in magazines
and at the water cooler in the office. Not only can this information
be startling, it also tends to be contradictory. If you feel like
you hear about so many different conclusions on the same topic
from all sorts of “scientific studies,” you’re
realizing the true nature of science. Although some things are
known for sure,
other pieces of scientific data are unproven, and only suggested
by correlation from certain studies. That’s why you might
hear that eggs are good for you one day and the next day you’ll
be advised by another health professional to avoid eggs. It’s
okay to feel overwhelmed by this information. But in order to let
education and research work for you, you should also be aware of
how to interpret the data.
The major culprit for unofficial health
information is the world-wide web. Some helpful tips for surfing the
web for health information include:
- Look for the entity that runs the site. The site’s
sponsor should be easy to find, and the material should be reviewed by medical professionals.
for the site’s purpose. Some websites will try to
push a service or a medication on readers, and this can affect
and the subjectivity of the information you find.
- Make sure the
information is current. Many studies and statistics might date
back a few years, before technological advances or
medical discoveries took place.
- Look critically at all health information, especially
the headlines you read in the news. Terms like “may” or “thought
to be” are often brushed over in headlines that are targeted
to draw you to watch a news program or buy a magazine.
best to find your health information in hospital-sponsored medical
websites or scientific journals and reviews that publish
information reviewed by experienced healthcare professionals.