Keep calm and carry on: how to read health news

In Evidence-Based Medicine, Health industry on February 6, 2009 by Alan Lovell Tagged: , , , , ,

My esteemed colleague Alicia White, one of the team running “behind the headlines“, has written a short piece containing advice on how to read health news. It’s quite short, easy to read and, of course, well written. It looks at important issues about the actual scientific study behind each set of the headlines, such as what were the sample sizes, was there a control group, what outcomes did they set out to measure etc, as well as issues about how the article was reported in the newspapers.

The most important rule to remember is: don’t automatically believe the headline. It is there to draw you into buying the paper and reading the story. Would you read an article called, “Coffee pretty unlikely to cause cancer, but you never know”? Probably not.

Do take a look. Plus keep up with the two stories a day covered by behind the headlines; you can find an RSS feed on the side of this page somewhere…


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