The unfortunate rise of medical myths (part 2)

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The unfortunate rise of medical myths (part 2)

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In last week’s blog, we covered common medical conspiracy theories (as found in a JAMA study), and how they represent a greater public distrust of the health care industry. We also talked about how this is dangerous, because public misinformation on health undermines what we are trying to accomplish as an organization. For today’s blog, we’re going to cover a few more of these conspiracies, and what you can do to help stop their spread! Cell phones cause cancer This theory states that the government knows it, but is being paid by the big companies to keep it quiet. While there are radiofrequency waves in cell phones, and some scientists differ on whether they cause certain types of cancer, the amount of radiofrequency is so low that it’s doubtful it causes tumors to form. Vaccines are bad for you The most well-known of the vaccine theories is that vaccinations cause autism, but they’ve also been blamed for a whole host of other problems. We in the medical community know the benefits of vaccines and that research disproves these supposed side-effects, but the belief persists in the public. The CIA gives people HIV This theory specifically states that African-Americans are being purposefully infected under the guise of hepatitis inoculations. Why do people believe them? The study noted that far from being a fringe-element, those who ascribed to conspiracy theories did so as a result of “common attribution processes.” Those who ascribed to three or more of the conspiracy theories tended to eschew traditional medicine, as seen in behaviors such as not seeking out the dentist, influenza shots or annual exams. What can I do? You can help stop the spread of this misinformation by becoming a member of NARA. The money from your membership fees goes to help fund advocacy on Capitol Hill. And while not all representatives ascribe to these conspiracy theories, all too many of them are not equipped with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about Medicare coverage.