Category Archives: Social Media for Health

How to unravel science

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself,
and you are the easiest person to fool.”

Richard Feynman.

Headlines in newspaper, articles in magazines and programs on television offer new health guidelines every week and they often contradict each other.

You know the kinds of stories I am talking about. First garlic protects against heart disease, then suddenly it doesn’t. You read coffee is supposed to be full of antioxidants, then you see another story that says it causes cancer. It is all very confusing. It makes you wonder what information to trust and what to dismiss.

Tom Naughton did a lecture on this at the Low Carb Cruise:

Ben Goldacre also did a presentation on this topic at TED:

In summary:

  • If you really want to know whether you can trust the research you read about, you need to know how the research was conducted.
  • Don’t be intimidated by science. A bit of critical thinking is all you need to determine if the information you are given is worth paying attention to. Tom Naughton’s lecture offers tips on this.
  • Know the difference between an observational study and a clinical study. Observational studies try to find correlations between events and outcomes. They are useful for developing hypotheses, but are not conclusive proof of anything.
  • Be aware that most health coverage in popular media is based on findings from observational studies.

More than ever, it’s critical to think critically. Bad information travels fast on the internet. Guard yourself by learning how to sniff out the good stuff from the bad.

Further Reading:

Science 101 Tutorial by Tim Huntley at My Athletic Life

Book: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Article: Lies, Damned Lies and Medical Science by David H. Freeman, The Atlantic

Article: Why almost everything you hear about medicine is wrong by Sharon Begley, The Daily Beast

How I use Twitter to do health research

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is uniquely your own.”

Bruce Lee

If you are serious about loosing weight, I recommend you put some time and energy into understanding nutrition.

I hope my blog inspires others to address their weight problems, but I know very few will duplicate my approach exactly. Most of you will likely have to adjust my formula to suit your own personal circumstances.

But it’s very easy to make mistakes when you change a weight loss program. One small misguided decision could slow down your progress dramatically. Also, there are a lot of people out there who peddle weight loss programs that don’t work or are detrimental to your health. The internet has given everyone a medium to peddle their wares for good and bad. More than ever you need knowledge and good dose of critical thinking to make an informed decision about your health.

I rely on Twitter to find a lot of my health research material. With Twitter I don’t have to search for the information I need. Instead the information finds its way to me. By following people who are interested in health and nutrition, I get to hear about the stuff they write about as well as the stuff they read. It’s like tapping into a huge network of reviewers and referrers.

Here are some of the people I follow on Twitter:

@chriskresser
@ChrisMasterjohn
@deniseminger
@FitnessExplorer
@glutenfreegirl
@livinlowcarbman
@Mark_Sisson
@nedkock
@NoraGedgaudas
@PaleoComfort
@robbwolf

I also use Twitter to make people aware of the materials I post on this blog or interesting materials I find on the net. If you would like to follow me on Twitter my ID is @PrimalPeter

If you have not used Twitter before, here is a video tutorial:

For a comprehensive on-line guide click here.

In future articles I will talk about how I use YouTube, Facebook, Google, Podcasts and good old printed books to continually expand my knowledge about health and nutrition.

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