[ASC-list] Assessing popular health media - Best advice for health consumers and patients

Rob Morrison rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Tue Apr 1 05:12:15 UTC 2014

As Vice President of Friends of Science in Medicine, I'd be happy to have a go, but there is too much, especially when you get into the horrendous realm of quackery, snake-oil salesmanship, pseudoscience, wishful thinking and worse that now afflict our "health care" options. These,  free from effective TGA sanctions and able to say and write virtually what they like in copious online promotions,  are routinely (and scandalously) dangled in front of the severely ill when they are least able to resist false hope.

We have a regular column, "The Bitter Pill" in Australasian science, which covers a lot of this and these columns - and much more - can be found on our website at www.scienceinmedicine.org.au<http://www.scienceinmedicine.org.au>

We are always looking to add extra Friends to our growing list, and who better than science communicators? Doesn't even cost you anything - details on the website.

Dr Rob Morrison
rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
Phone: (08) 8339 3790
Fax: (08)8339 6272
From: ASC-list <asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au> on behalf of Ian Muchamore <ian at imthinking.com.au>
Sent: Monday, 31 March 2014 3:27 PM
To: Unname list
Subject: [ASC-list] Assessing popular health media - Best advice for health consumers and patients

I am interested to hear from ASC members and list followers what advice we might offer to health consumers and patients directly affected by a health condition when they consider and based health decisions on coverage in the popular media. I'm writing a short opinion piece on this topic.

I am much more aware of the science communication advice and programs we offer to scientists and health researchers themselves. What about from the user perspective? What simple and practical advice can we offer that might even be grounded in some evidence?

One tool that has been used in the past to assess health related stories is the Australian Media Doctor ten item checklist, although that project now appears to have departed and the algorithm they used to rate articles up to 5 stars no longer seems available. However the rating items do seem relevant for the average reader to consider.

New scientific findings for some health conditions for some health conditions, including around HIV prevention and treatment, are leading to increasingly complex and nuanced health promotion and prevention messages.  I have noted at least half a dozen "HIV breakthroughs" in the popular media over the last month which is surely overwhelming for any average health consumer without the skills to sift the wheat from the chaff.

I have a few other thoughts but thought worth asking the experts. Does anyone what to pitch in? Either in the thread or contact me directly below before Wednesday.



Ian Muchamore
Living Positive Victoria

Email : President at livingpositivevictoria.org.au<mailto:President at livingpositivevictoria.org.au>
Phone : 0415 551 705
Web: www.livingpositivevictoria.org.au<http://www.livingpositivevictoria.org.au>
Donate : www.givenow.com.au/livingpositivevictoria<http://www.givenow.com.au/livingpositivevictoria>

Living Positive Victoria is a not for profit, community based organisation representing all people living with HIV in Victoria since 1988 and is committed to the advancement of human rights and wellbeing of all people living with HIV.

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