Dining with Your Doc!
“Is It So – or Not?
How to Decipher Healthcare headlines”
Did you Know?
by Michael S. Jennings, MD
Monday’s headline-”Grapes cause baldness!”
Thursday’s headline-”Grapes cure baldness!”
In other news, “Drinking water is the secret to long life–or may contribute to premature death.”
Have you ever felt confused over the endless stream of health headlines in the news? One seems to contradict another. One day we are advised to do this; next month there are admonitions to do the opposite. Why are there so many conflicting pronouncements? Where do they come from?
The advancement of scientific knowledge comes in fits and starts. Within the health sciences, there is a very large number of universities, institutes, medical schools, hospitals, research foundations, and corporations who actively conduct research on many levels–from deciphering the molecular basis of health and illness, to clinical outcome studies of public health policies in large populations.
There is a well-defined process for gathering data, drawing conclusions, and reporting findings regardless of the subject of research. This process, refined over decades and centuries of inquiry into the mysteries of the universe, is designed to minimize the probability of erroneous data collection and maximize the reliability of conclusions derived from that data. This scientific process is essential to maintain the highest standards of excellence in the pursuit of truth.
Findings from scientific studies are published in professional journals, “magazine” format publications which typically specialize in reporting research in a particular subject area. These studies are written for a professional audience, full of jargon and terminology peculiar to that field.
The lay press or popular media may report on a newly published study, creating a 15 second sound bite which summarizes the findings of perhaps years of study involving thousands of subjects. The popular media is more interested in maintaining the interest (attention) of the listener/reader so their audience stays tuned (or engaged) during the advertisements to follow. Popular media is not concerned with presenting the full story behind the study and how that information complements or conflicts with other research previously published.
Within the scientific community, the publication of a single study is rarely received as a paradigm shifting event. Rather, it is just one more piece of the puzzle and requires validation by others in the field to determine if the conclusions are plausible, reliable, and repeatable. Only then may the study become generally accepted as “fact.”
It’s no wonder that the flood of facts streaming down the information highway seems overwhelming. On the other hand, we want to stay abreast of new information which will help keep us healthy and safe. How can we best stay up-to-date?
Join us as we discuss the flow of information from the laboratory to your living room and review some basic strategies for sorting out the facts from the fantasy. Call now to RSVP.
Join us for a discussion of
“Is It So – or Not? How to Decipher Healthcare Headlines”
at our next
‘Dining with Your Doc!‘
Friday July 27th, 11:45am – 1:00pm
Join us for an interactive, entertaining, and educational lunch hour. Lunch is on us, but space is limited so call 801 998-8492 to confirm your seat for Dining with Your Doc!
You must RSVP to attend.
Friday July 27th, 11:45am – 1:00pm