It seems to happen almost every day - you hear about the results of a new medical research study. Sometimes the results of one study seem to disagree with the results of another study.
It's important to be critical when reading or listening to reports of new medical findings. Some questions that can help you evaluate health information include:
- Was the study in animals or people?
- Does the study include people like you?
- How big was the study?
- Was it a randomized controlled clinical trial?
- Where was the research done?
- If a new treatment was being tested, were there side effects?
- Who paid for the research?
- Who is reporting the results?
NIH: National Institutes of Health
- Clinical Research and Clinical Trials (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
- Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Research (National Human Genome Research Institute)
- Increasing Knowledge -- How to Read a Research Paper (Lewy Body Dementia Association)
- Understanding Risk: What Do Those Headlines Really Mean? (National Institutes of Health)
- JAMA Patient Page: Basic Science Research (American Medical Association) - PDF
- JAMA Patient Page: Evidence-Based Medicine (American Medical Association) - PDF
- JAMA Patient Page: Medical Journals (American Medical Association) - PDF
- JAMA Patient Page: Supporting Medical Research (American Medical Association) - PDF
- Making Sense of Medical News (Nemours Foundation)
- Medical Myth Prevention - Understanding Medical News (InteliHealth, Harvard Medical School)
- Nanomedicine (National Human Genome Research Institute)
- Placebo Effect (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
- Studies That Observe Humans (American Cancer Society)
- Understanding Health News: Complementary Health Approaches In the News (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- When the Research Doctor Says "More Study Needed" (InteliHealth, Harvard Medical School)
- Understanding Medical Words: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine (National Library of Medicine)
- Model Organisms Fact Sheet: Using Model Organisms to Study Health and Disease (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
- NIH: Turning Discovery Into Health (National Institutes of Health) - PDF
- Findings (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)