Science Fiction or Science Fact — How Believable Is “Cutting Edge” Research?

Did you hear the latest? Red wine, a study has shown, might be instrumental in treating mesothelioma patients.

Really? Come on. In the Google search “what can red wine treat” the search results claim that red wine can also help treat:

  • Breast cancer
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Concussions

And this is just on the first page of results.

Patients and those battling cancer are often sent information by well-intentioned acquaintances to assist them in successfully treating their cancer.  It becomes part of the daily barrage of information gleaned through internet related resources as well as traditional news reports.  In addition to the risk of information overload, where the patient and family member can find themselves sent into the turmoil of indecision, or thrust into a state of doubt about decisions already made, this often leads to a delay in treatment or doubt where there was once a sense of certainty, of a decision well made.

That’s when the questions begin to fly:

  • How do you sort out fact from fiction?
  • How do you define a credible site of information?
  • Who is “spinning” the story?

Remember from childhood: stop, look and listen before you react.  The media makes their living from viewers. If you hear of a new breakthrough in cancer medicine or new treatment for mesothelioma, remember that if you are seeing a mesothelioma expert or are working with the Foundation nine times out of ten we are aware of this science and would have shared it with you should it be ready for “prime time”.  Always question the source. Are you receiving the news directly into your inbox? Are you subscribing to a news feed? Again there are usually ulterior motives at play.  Scrutinize the source, follow the pathway.  Who is behind the website? A 501c designating a charity or is it a business that makes a living off of website hits or acquiring new members to their site? If a story is of interest, contact me. I like being the detective, delving into medical resources to ensure that you are getting accurate information without the spin but with a true explanation of what impact it might have on the lives of those with mesothelioma.  There are some very good fact checkers I personally like PubMed where I find the citations and know that the information is published in peer reviewed journals.  In addition I can read the entire article and know that the little piece that was pulled may not have given the full story or true ramifications of the science under question. If it is not in the medical literature I sometimes turn to Quackwatch which helps me to find the origin of a particular internet sensation that is making the rounds.  (One of the most famous is the Johns Hopkins Cancer Diet.  Hopkins has denied this as coming from their institution but it has been resurfacing for years.)

So consumer beware. Rarely is good information truly for free, and bad information can cost you dearly.

One thought on “Science Fiction or Science Fact — How Believable Is “Cutting Edge” Research?

  1. BUT…

    The study IS genuine, by the medical department of a South Korean University and in vivo.

    BUT…

    The in vivo in question is a mouse population not human.

    AND…

    It wouldn’t be unique in causing apopstosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma in the laboratory.

    SO…

    Further study is needed.

    BUT…

    Don’t rule it out as a possibility, remember how useful yew has become for breast cancer treatment.

    HOWEVER…

    Don’t rely on it being a cure.

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