Medical Misinformation – Be Careful What You Read & Trust!

by | Jan 3, 2018

Does coffee cause cancer?

Put down that cup of coffee! A recent research study says….

No, wait. It’s ok. Coffee is actually good for you; a new study showed….

But EGGS – eggs are bad. Will ruin your cholesterol…

Oh, hold on, the latest research shows that eggs are ok after all….

I’m sure all of this sounds very familiar – medical “information” is constantly coming at us, on the news, social media, our favorite TV show host…and it will make your head spin if you try to listen to it all. We’ve all noticed the constant yo-yo on whether certain favorite foods and activities are “good” or “bad” for our health. What is going on?

If you have met me or been reading my blog for long, you will know that I read a lot of research papers and that I try to back up my medical decisions and advice with research. That is why I take the time to include the relevant references in my blog posts! But with all the conflicting advice out there, how do I know what to believe and what to ignore?

There are many papers out there; In fact, the National Library for Health has some 17 million trials tagged “human”, and a further MILLION articles are added each year. Much of this research is useless, creates misinformation, or worse, can be used to push certain agendas. It is challenging to look at papers in an unbiased manner and assess their quality; their study design, the appropriateness of their conclusions and recommendations. There is no way that I, or any medical professional or researcher, can stay on top of ALL of that information, but it is important to at least be able to evaluate the quality and reliability of the medical research that we do consume and allow to shape our practice. This is what I try my hardest to do so!

A recent paper1 looked at this issue. It came up with 4 major problems we have with research publication which is shown in this graphic

Four issues of Medical Missinformation

In order to evaluate the quality of a particular research paper, one needs a knowledge in research statistics and how to properly design an experiment. For instance, factors such as the sample size, length of the study, whether a good experimental control was in place are crucial. Also relevant is whether the research was carried out on lab tissue, humans, or animal subjects. Sadly, many times those attention-grabbing headlines touting the latest “cancer-causing” (or cancer-curing) food, etc, don’t tell you any of those things – if you dig deep you might find out that the research was in rats, at much higher dosage levels than human normally would (or even could) experience, or that the research was simply some cells responding in a petri dish and may be decades away from actually being a conclusive result that anyone should base their decisions on!

This is why I take my professional reading seriously and strive to be careful about evaluating the quality of the research that I bring to you on my blog. My educational background has equipped me with the basic knowledge and tools I need to critically review sports-medicine research, and my goal is to break that information down into something useful and applicable for my clients and my readers!

Do you have any questions or topics that you wish I could cover in a future blog? Let me know! I would love to hear from you and report back on the current state of the research. No matter where you find your health information, I would encourage you to consider it with a critical eye; before you let the information coming at you from all directions start to change your lifestyle decisions, consider the source and the quality of the underlying research behind the headline!

Reference:

  1. Ioannidis JPA, Stuart ME, Brownlee S, Strite SA. How To Survive the Medical Misinformation Mess. Eur J Clin Invest. 2017;
Carpal tunnel and neck pain care in huntsville and madison alabama

When is Carpal Tunnel Not Carpal Tunnel

When is Carpal Tunnel Not Carpal Tunnel! There is often the assumption that numbness in the hand is due to ...
Read More
Huntsville Madison runners need strong soleus muscles to help avoid achilles problems

Why You Need a Strong Soleus!

Why You Need a Strong Soleus! The soleus is a big calf muscle, but oftentimes is unloved! It is actually ...
Read More
interview with a fitness professional in Huntsville and Madison with Joe Martin of Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp

Interview With Joe Martin of Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp

The Huntsville/Madison Health and Fitness Professionals I Trust #2 As a physical therapist it is often important to refer my ...
Read More
Evidence based treatment huntsville and madison alabama

Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat - Is The Treatment To Good To Be True? When healthcare professionals recommend a treatment, it should ...
Read More
Ankle sprains live at physioworks in huntsville alabama providing top ankle physical therapy

What we do if Ankle Sprains Are Slowing us Down!

If you read our recent blog on ankle sprains (link here) you might be wondering what to do practically. This ...
Read More
Ali Meeks of ReadSetSweat coach swimmer triathlete in the huntsville alabama are and partner with physioworks

Interview with Coach, Swimmer, and Triathlete, Ali Meeks of Ready Set Sweat

It's Time to ReadySetSweat - Swimming, Triathlon, Coaching, and Even a Book?! I interviewed local triathlon coach and all around ...
Read More
Loading...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

google logoPhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.PhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.
5 Stars - Based on 35 User Reviews

facebook logoPhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.PhysioWorks, Sports and Wellness, Inc.
5 Stars - Based on 12 User Reviews

Never miss a blog!

Andrew is an extremely valuable asset to our community thanks to his passion for not only his patients, but for staying on top of current research and techniques. I have seen him numerous times and the care I have received is second to none. Andrew is also actively involved in our local athletic community offering injury prevention advice and training tips, and you can often see him volunteering his time at athletic events. Highly recommend.

Teresa Fleischmann Avatar Teresa Fleischmann
2/05/2018

Andrew is amazingly gifted. He has helped me with various issues stemming from a life-long issue. I am now much better off than I have been in years and continue to work to strengthen myself under his care. We have recommended several friends and all have been thrilled. My family feels very fortunate to be able to work with Andrew and experience an improved quality of life. Consider your research over. Make an appointment, you will not regret it!

Matt Willauer Avatar Matt Willauer
9/17/2018

I highly recommend PhysioWorks. My condition was not an injury, but rather years of back pain, tension and fatigue, especially associated with pregnancy. I finally decided to try to tackle it, and Andrew was very thorough, knowledgeable, and helpful - giving me useful tips, techniques, and detailed stretches and exercises that quickly helped combat the pain and tension. Very thankful I gave him a try, and I recommend you to do the same!

Ryan-Anna Wolfe Avatar Ryan-Anna Wolfe
3/03/2018