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How to read articles about health and healthcare

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:01 PM
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How to read articles about health and healthcare
By Dr Alicia White
If youve just read a health-related headline thats caused you to spit out your morning coffee (Coffee causes cancer usually does the trick) its always best to follow the Blitz slogan: Keep Calm and Carry On. On reading further youll often find the headline has left out something important, like Injecting five rats with really highly concentrated coffee solution caused some changes in cells that might lead to tumours eventually. (Study funded by The Association of Tea Marketing).

The most important rule to remember: Dont automatically believe the headline. It is there to draw you into buying the paper and reading the story. Would you read an article called Coffee pretty unlikely to cause cancer, but you never know? Probably not.

Before spraying your newspaper with coffee in the future, you need to interrogate the article to see what it says about the research it is reporting on. Bazian (the company I work for) has interrogated hundreds of articles for Behind The Headlines on NHS Choices, and weve developed the following questions to help you figure out which articles youre going to believe, and which youre not.



Does the article support its claims with scientific research?

If an article touts a treatment or a lifestyle factor that is supposed to prevent or cause a disease, but doesnt give any information about the scientific research behind it, or refers to research that has yet to be published, then treat it with caution. A lot of caution, like balling the article up and throwing it in the (recycling) bin.

more:

http://www.badscience.net/2009/09/how-to-read-articles-...
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