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Evaluating Health Claims – how to decide if they are legitimate.

L to R: A/Prof Rae Thomas, Dr Paulina Stehlik, Dr Amanda McCullough, Prof David Henry

In the bewildering times of “fake news”, wellness promoting celebrities and the unprecedented access to information on the internet, how do we make sense of the all the hype? When it comes to health, invaluable or misleading information that dilute the truth can result in frustration, confusion, and in the worst case, harm.

To avoid being tricked by misleading health claims, members of the Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice at Bond University gave some practical tips on how to quickly and effectively evaluate a health claim’s merits, decide whether you need more information, and help you know where to find it.

This free public workshop was held during Bond's 2018 Research Week on 17th October.

Take home messages

1) Make sure that what you have been presented with is actual evidence

Statements such as "it's been used for a long time" or that "lot's of people use it" don't tell us anything about the safety or efficacy of a product.

2) Check that you have been given all the information

More often than not, media releases and companies promoting products often over-emphasise the benefits and skim over the harms. It's good to make sure you have been told everything you need to know to make a decision, including other options and what would happen if you do nothing.

3) Know where to look for unbiased and high-quality information

A good way to start your Google search is to just add the word "evidence" to the rest of your search terms. This trick tends to filter out some of the less credible links and bring up more reliable evidence to top of your search.

Listen to the talks


Presented by Professor David Henry (Prof EBPPU (CREBP); co-founder of Media Doctor Australia)

Talk 1: Spotting potentially bogus health claims

Presented by Dr Paulina Stehlik (Senior Research Fellow and EBPPU coordinator (CREBP); Gold Coast Skeptics President)

Listen to the podcast: click here

Talk 2: Health news reporting in the media

Presented by Associate Professor Rae Thomas (A/Prof (CREBP); Deputy Director Wiser Healthcare at Bond University)

Listen to the podcast: click here

Talk 3: Finding legitimate health information online

Presented by Dr Amanda McCullough (Research Fellow (CREBP), Teaching Fellow (Bond); Founder of Not Just Mum)

Listen to the podcast: click here

View the Materials

Information pack: click here

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