The Albany Times Union put out an article the other day about a group of Albany Medical College students who have taken it upon themselves to basically make journal clubs out of health-related articles in popular magazines. The idea came to one student after he read an article about how low-carb diets can cure acne. After looking further into the story, he found that the journal article that was the source of the magazine article was poorly constructed and easily defeated upon critical review. Since then, the idea has spread to include multiple medical students reviewing multiple popular periodicals from Cosmo to Men’s Health to the Wall Street Journal.
We’ve all been there before. A friend or a family member reads something in the paper or hears something on the news and then either asks of if what they read/heard was true, or they insist that what they heard is the truth because they heard it on CNN. From cancer-smelling dogs, to Sweet-and-Low, to Hot Yoga, I’ve, personally been peppered with these pop-medical topics. Sometimes I’ve had to correct my friends, other times I’ve been quite surprised to learn something new!
I guess as physicians we are almost behooved to stay well-versed and maintain a critical eye when dealing with pop-medicine so that we can provide accurate consultation services to our lay brethren, because it is clear that the media doesn’t always check its facts before publishing a story about the next big medical breakthrough.