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For as long as people have felt or imagined pains and creakiness, there have been those who promised unconventional solutions, from 19th century hawkers of snake oil to the website Goop’s recent celebration of “jade eggs” for sexual health. Most of these claims have little or no basis in medical science or literature. But some, like the persistent claim that vaccinations trigger autism, linger, stirring doubt about what the medical community considers settled science.
How do we wade through the nonsense and still get the latest information?
Here at Providence, we rely only on sources that use evidence-based science and peer-reviewed research.
Like all science, medicine is constantly under scientific scrutiny and medical knowledge is being built upon careful, peer-reviewed studies. For that reason, you may want to know the latest research – including things like the possible misdiagnosis of millions of people who were told they have asthma, the updated information about kids and screen time and a possible breakthrough in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, bad information abounds. Many lifestyle magazines, celebrity blogs and talk show guests offer a veneer of science to polish even the most outlandish claims. And in the rush to report, even major news sources sometimes misinterpret new medical research, since they don’t have doctors on staff to interpret the findings.
Which sources and websites are reliable?
At Providence, we rely first on our own health care providers, who are leaders in their fields. Sometimes, we go straight to the source, carefully reading and interpreting new medical studies in peer-reviewed journals. We also rely on government health agencies, accredited schools of medicine and some trusted non-profits.
Here’s a hyperlinked list of some trusted sources:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- National Institutes of Health, including each of the member institutes
- Federal Drug Administration
- The U.S. Health & Human Services’ HealthFinder.gov
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Medical and health associations
- World Health Organization
- American Psychiatric Association
- American Cancer Society
- American Heart Association
- American Lung Association
- American Neurological Association
- American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- American Dental Association
- American Diabetes Association
- Healthychildren.org, from the American College of Pediatrics
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- The Family Caregiver Alliance
- Alzheimer’s Association
- JAMA Network, the Journals of the American Medical Association
- New England Journal of Medicine
- The Lancet
- Nature and its related journals
- Cell Press and its group of journals
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology
- PLOS Medicine, a journal of the Public Library of Science
What about alternative health topics?
We’re also interested in alternative and complimentary health care topics – and we’ll do what we can to review recent research with our providers for you whenever possible.
You can also visit the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.
In general, be careful with dot-com sites, since commercial sites have agendas that may not be obvious, and always use special care if someone is trying to sell you something. Rely more heavily on dot-orgs and dot-gov sites, like the ones listed above. If you read something you’re not sure about, print the article and take it in to discuss with your provider during your next visit.
Need a primary care provider? Search our interactive map to find one near you.
Is there a medical topic that you think most people get wrong? Do you have an evidence-based source to share? Please post your comment below.