We all know that a simple health related search on the internet will return all sorts of weird and wonderful articles, ranging from highly reliable, to complete rubbish!
But, how can you figure out which information to trust, and which to take with a pinch of salt?
It can definitely feel like a bit of a minefield.
Whatever your topic of interest, there are lots claims out there, but many have absolutely no scientific research backing them.
However, sometimes even scientific studies, published in reputable journals, can leave us wondering what to believe.
So, how can you tell if a piece of evidence is reliable?
Here are a few principles to look out for:
Was the study large?
Put simply, small studies tend to be more unreliable.
Can the study be replicated?
In other words, have repeat studies found the same/similar results? Or could someone repeat the study and find similar results?
Has the research been carried out on humans, or animals?
A trustworthy trial should include real people, with real treatments.
Are the results statistically significant?
The results should show a difference, which is unlikely to have occurred by chance alone.
Who is paying for the study?
This is a very important point to consider.
If the sponsors appear to have a commercial interest in the findings, we do well to be a little more skeptical.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the results are incorrect, or biased.
If you have any other questions leave a comment below…