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bogus products      lack of fact-checking

miracle cures       sensationalized news items 
exaggerated claims       manipulated data

Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” – Dr. Richard Horton, editor of the world’s most respected medical journal, The Lancet


reputable health sources

Below is a list of General Health Web sites that are excellent and highly recommended:

Fact checking health news

questions to ask

  1. Who runs the Web site?

    who is responsible for the site and its information should be clearly stated on the homepage

  2. Who pays for the Web site?

    It costs money to run a Web site. The source of a Web site’s funding should be clearly stated or readily apparent. 

  3. What is the Web site’s purpose?

     This Web page should clearly state the purpose of the site and help you evaluate the trustworthiness of the site’s information. Looking for another source of health information that is independent and unbiased can help you validate the accuracy of the material presented on a Web site.

  4. What is the original source of the Web site’s information?

    Check for the credentials of the author and if an article is mentioned, did it come from a reputable journal.

  5. How does the Web site document the evidence supporting its information?

    Web sites should identify the medical and scientific evidence that supports the material presented on the site. Medical facts and figures should have references (such as citations of articles published in medical journals). Also, opinions or advice should be clearly set apart from information that is “evidence based” (that is, based on research results). Testimonials from people who said they have tried a particular product or service are not evidence based and usually cannot be corroborated.

  6. Who reviewed the information before the owner posted it on the Web site?

    Health-related Web sites should give information about the medical credentials of the people who prepared or reviewed the material on the Web site. 

  7. How current is the information on the Web site?

    Experts should review and update the material on Web sites on a regular basis. Web sites should clearly post the most recent update or review date. Even if the information has not changed in a long time, the site owner should indicate that someone has reviewed it recently to ensure that the information is still valid.

  8. How does the Web site owner choose links to other sites?

    Do links meet certain criteria or are they paid ads

  9. What information about users does the Web site collect, and why?

    Any Web site asking you for personal information should explain exactly what the site will and will not do with the information. Many commercial sites sell “aggregate” data—such as what percent of their users take dietary supplements—about their users to other companies. In some cases, sites collect and reuse information that is “personally identifiable,” such as your ZIP code, gender, and birth date. Be certain to read and understand any privacy policy or similar language on the site and do not sign up for anything that you do not fully understand.

  10. How does the Web site manage interactions with users?

    Web sites should always offer a way for users to contact the Web site owner with problems, feedback, and questions. If the site hosts a chat room or some other form of online discussion, it should explain the terms of using the service. 

harms caused by fake medical news

 Fake science and health news can cause potential physical and financial damage -
 it’s easy to be misled (or even harmed) by unproven or exaggerated claims, not to mention the financial impact of spending money on products and services that may not make any difference in your life.


Evaluation of spin in abstracts of papers in psychiatry and psychology journals -  Jellison S, Roberts W, Bowers A, et al. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Epub ahead of print: [please include Day Month Year]. doi:10.1136/ bmjebm-2019-111176 
A study found exaggerated claims in more than half of psychology and psychiatry research papers analyzed

Watch out for fake medical news

Dr. Kasey Harbine from St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula Montana gives a brief overview of fake news on KPAX morning show



Articles about Fake News

predatory journals

There Are Now 8,000 Fake Science ‘Journals’ Worldwide, Researchers Say

  • Falsely claiming to provide peer review and meaningful editorial oversight of submissions
  • Lying about affiliations with prestigious scholarly/scientific organizations
  • Claiming affiliation with a non-existent organization
  • Naming reputable scholars to editorial boards without their permission (and refusing to remove them)
  • Falsely claiming to have a high Journal Impact Factor
  • Hiding information about APCs until after the author has completed submission
  • Falsely claiming to be included in prestigious indexes
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