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The Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media

Lu par : Roy Benaroch
Durée : 12 h et 23 min
Prix : 31,38 €
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As consumers of medical news, how can we know whether the article we just read is based on solid science or is just an ill-informed attempt to grab readers? Professor Roy Benaroch of Emory University School of Medicine provides just the direction we need in The Skeptic’s Guide to Health, Medicine, and the Media. In 24 fascinating lectures that address the most important health issues of our day - heart health, obesity, longevity, the opioid crisis, the stigma of mental illness, alternative medicine approaches, toxins in the environment, and more - Dr. Benaroch tells us how to recognize the good reporting and the bad. 

With his guidance, you’ll create a “Skeptic’s Toolkit”, asking the questions that take you past the headlines and beyond the way health news is typically reported. You’ll learn six specific questions to always keep in mind as you read any article in print or online: What’s the source of the article? Is the evidence presented strong enough to be valuable? Is someone trying to sell me something? Is this study about people like me, and are the factors they’re measuring in the study important to me? Does the report present a viewpoint from scientists not directly involved in the study? And is the story itself sensible, fitting in with what we already know? Armed with these questions, you’ll be able to find valuable information to help inform your own health care decisions, without falling prey to snappy-sounding articles that have no basis in solid science.

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The Story Behind the Story

This lecture series made me more aware of factors that can skew the media's coverage of health issues. The powerful influence of vested interests and partisans of all stripes is apparently much more pervasive than I had naively assumed. Despite the course's title, Dr. Benaroch is not a hardcore skeptic.* He cites several examples of the media's positive role in raising public awareness, and he most certainly does not encourage listeners to automatically reject every single piece of medical journalism they come across. Rather, Dr. Benaroch invites us (and equips us) to adopt a more critical frame of mind so that we may better discern "the story behind the story" in the medical news we consume. Dr. Benaroch's lecture style is professional, pleasant and extremely polished. This is a well-delivered course of broad general interest.

* I like Dr. Benaroch's definition of a skeptic as one who reserves judgement in the absence of conclusive evidence.

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