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Know the Science: The Facts About Health News Stories

Missing Information From Health Stories

Health stories in the media teach us about the importance of health issues and change how we think and what we do about our health. High-quality news reports give us realistic expectations and inform the medical community about medical advances. But news stories about complementary health approaches often lack details that could help us make good decisions about our health.

Woman looking up medical information on her computer

What information is sometimes missing from news stories?

  • How well one approach works compared with another
  • The side effects of an approach
  • Whether a study’s results are “statistically significant”—meaning they didn’t happen just by chance
  • Whether the study was done in animals or in people