The Internet has made it easier than ever to access breaking medical news. Keeping up with the latest drug breakthroughs, clinical trials and studies seems like it would be easy. Unfortunately, however, there is a catch. You can’t always trust what you read online.
Unlike traditional medical publications that are required to cite their sources and back up their claims, bloggers and online news sites can post practically anything they want with no data to support it. Oftentimes this means that wild, yet unsubstantiated claims get made about ways to treat serious illness and disease or about “cures” for just about anything that ails you.
At the same time, however, there are plenty or reputable sources that also post information online. The problem then becomes determining which sources you can trust and which should be taken with a grain of salt. The last thing you want is to get your hopes up about some promising new study or groundbreaking research only to find that it was something a blogger made up.
So how can you go about verifying information that you find on the Internet? How can you know which resources to trust? Well, there are some basic rules you can follow that will help you find the most dependable information.
First, you can generally trust any health websites that are published or sponsored by government sources. This includes resources that are endorsed or sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
You can also usually trust university resources. Just make sure that the page you are viewing is an official page on the university’s website. Students can often set up their own sites that end with a .edu domain name, which can be confusing. Always try to find a way to verify that it is an approved page on the university’s site before acting on or believing any information that you find.
Large, nationally recognized hospitals and health clinics are also excellent resources for finding accurate medical updates and publications. These organizations adhere to strict standards in terms of the content that they publish. You can bet that if it appears on their websites, it has been verified by some of the leading health experts in the world.
Finally, most non-profit organizations provide well-researched data on their websites. Chances are they would not publish a news story without first verifying that all of the information was correct and that it was backed up by solid data.
Keep in mind that none of these are hard and fast rules, and there are always exceptions. In general, however, as long as you use one of these resources you should be able to trust that the information you read is true and accurate.
Keeping up with the latest medical news and research can help you understand what is happening right now in the world of medicine. By carefully screening which sources you use to find your information, you can weed out sites that are filled with inaccurate information, and focus your attention on those that take the time to verify their sources.