New guide helps decode online health advice

Patients wanting to distinguish the bogus from the beneficial in the sea of health information on the internet are to be aided by a new guide from Sense About Science.

Dr Clare Gerada

‘I’ve Got Nothing to Lose by Trying it’ is a 16-page booklet designed to help patients identify quack claims and pseudo science.

Online adverts and chat-rooms testify to incredible benefits of new medicines, but these are often based on limited information and exploit patients’ yearning for improvement, Sense About Science says.

The guide warns people with long-term incurable conditions about the emotional and financial costs of over-hyped treatment claims that sell false hope.

Dr Clare Gerada, vice-chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs commented: ‘This guide provides a wealth of sensible information to patients and the public. It goes a long way to taking the mystery out of medicine and I would recommend it to patients as a common-sense read.’

The guide has been developed by Sense About Science, an independent charitable trust to promote good science and evidence for the public, in collaboration with the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the Alzheimer’s Society and the Parkinson’s Society.

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