Fake Health News

Who paid for the study?

That is the very first question I look to obtain when a study comes out, especially one that is circulated widely in the news with a broad headline. Sometimes, even the disclosures don’t help. Check out this amazing admission:

All told, ProPublica and The Times found that Dr. Baselga had failed to report any industry ties in 60 percent of the nearly 180 papers he had published since 2013. That figure increased each year — he did not disclose any relationships in 87 percent of the journal articles that he co-wrote last year.1

So, even when the disclosures are declared, unfortunately, we can’t consider that the final word. A careful look at not just the disclosures, but who benefits from the information, is a big part of the picture. Not all studies are nefarious but, most often those in our Fake Health News series rise to that level.

Proceed with caution before heeding the advice of news headlines from studies without analyzing a little more closely.

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  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/13/health/jose-baselga-cancer-memorial-sloan-kettering.html

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