Is It Science Or Snake Oil?

We are fortunate to live in a time in which information is at our fingertips. This is especially true when we are faced with a health issue affecting ourselves or our loved ones. The internet and social media have become a major resource for many of us as we are trying to negotiate our way through our understanding of complicated medical information. But how do we sort through the information that is available to us? How can we tell if it’s based on science or if we are buying a bottle of snake oil? Here are some tips on finding reliable resources.

In general websites that are .gov and .edu are reliable (but not always!).

  • Beware of ads that offer the “study of one.” These are anecdotal stories that, while stirring emotions and seeking connection with individuals on a personal level, have no real meaning in terms of effectiveness or safety of treatment. Ask for hard data from large study groups that show long term efficacy. These should be peer-reviewed studies that are preferably published in reputable scientific and medical journals (eg JAMA, Pediatrics, etc.)
  • Get a primary care provider you trust; a medical home where you feel comfortable discussing all aspects of your child’s medical condition. Ask about recommendations for trusted websites, books, and articles. Discuss alternative treatments you are considering and seek opinions from your provider. At Greenwood Pediatrics, we are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the care of your child or if you need any help deciding if it’s science or snake oil.

Dr. Connie Giarratana is a pediatrician with Greenwood Pediatrics in Centennial, CO. She enjoys reading, traveling, walking her dog, and watching football.

Posted: 10/19/2017 2:52:49 PM by Deb Braun | with 0 comments
Filed under: info, internet, media, Medical, on, social, the

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