You’re smart, I know you are! I want you to apply those smarts and help me out a bit.
There’s a lot of information thrown at us about our health, or some new treatment or medicine, or some new aspect of a disease. The media is flat out MEAN about how and when it presents you with this information (usually, it’s incomplete, biased, and twisted into a scare tactic).
Anyone with a brain will know that anything in excess can be bad.
Some tips on judging the source of information:
- Are they trustworthy?
- What is their reputation of presenting “shock and awe” headlines just to get views, clicks, or attention?
- Is it a celebrity or politician who wants some screen time and just wants to be the loudest voice in the room?
Critical thinking is a dying skill, please don’t let it go extinct.
Science and medical information is classified based on how close to the “horse’s mouth” it is. Scientists who do the study, write the reports and articles, and publish it in journals themselves – those are called primary sources. To be trustworthy, they have to state any limitations their study had, confounding factors, and any biases (aka money paid by someone who cares – like drug companies or lobbying groups). Then there may be a group of scientists or statisticians that take several primary resources that studied the same thing and compare all their outcomes and come up with an overarching conclusion – those are called secondary sources. Articles that reach the public and may have citations of using primary or secondary sources for some of the information presented are called tertiary sources. They are so far removed from the primary source that they CANNOT be used for academic research!
Again, critical thinking skills are vital for our success in society. Don’t follow the fads! Don’t allow yourself to be duped by people who line their pockets with money from people who are ignorant about the subject they’re screaming about.