When the British newspaper The Independent analyzed headlines that were about cancer, it turned out that more than half of them contained statements that were discredited by health authorities or doctors. However, many millions of people found these articles interesting enough and shared them on social networks.
The information found on the Internet should be treated with caution, but how to determine which of the articles and news contain verified facts and which do not?
1. First of all, check the source. Make sure the article or news item is from a reputable publication, website, or organization.
2. Consider whether the conclusions contained in the article sound plausible. If they look too good to be true – alas, they can hardly be trusted.
3. If information is described as “a secret that even doctors won’t tell you,” don’t believe it. It makes no sense for doctors to hide the secrets of effective treatments from you. They strive to help people – this is their calling.
4. The louder the statement, the more evidence it needs. If this is really a huge breakthrough (they do happen from time to time), it will be tested on thousands of patients, published in medical journals and covered by the world’s largest media. If it’s supposedly something so new that only one doctor knows about it, you’d better wait for some more evidence before following any medical advice.
5. If the article says the study was published in a particular journal, do a quick web search to make sure the journal is peer-reviewed. This means that before an article can be published, it is submitted for review by scientists working in the same field. Sometimes, over time, even information in peer-reviewed articles is refuted if it turns out that the facts are still false, but the vast majority of peer-reviewed articles can be trusted. If the study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, be more skeptical about the facts it contains.
6. Has the described “miracle cure” been tested on humans? If a method has not been successfully applied to humans, information about it can still be interesting and promising from a scientific point of view, but do not expect it to work.
7. Certain online resources can help you check information and save you time. Some websites, such as , themselves check the latest medical news and articles for authenticity.
8. Look for the journalist’s name in his other articles to find out what he usually writes about. If he regularly writes about science or health, then he is more likely to get information from reliable sources and be able to check the data.
9. Search the web for key information from the article, adding “myth” or “deception” to the query. It may turn out that the facts that caused you doubts have already been criticized on some other portal.