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Know the Science: The Facts About Health News Stories

Test Your Knowledge

Test Your Knowledge

Following are two sets of questions to help you sort out the facts about health news stories.

Knowledge Check #1: Conflicting Health News

Media reports about new medical research findings sometimes give conflicting information. You may see an article or story saying that a health product or approach is good for you, and later see another news report that says that it’s not. Why do you think there is conflicting information in media reports?

Select one.

Knowledge Check #2: Is It Real Online News or Just Advertising?

In April 2011, the Federal Trade Commission warned the public about fake online news sites promoting an acai berry “weight-loss” product.

On a misleading “news” site, a story described an investigation in which a reporter used the product for several weeks, with “dramatic” results. The site looked real, but it was actually an advertisement. There was no reporter, no news organization, and no investigation. The only real things were the links to a sales site that appeared in the story and elsewhere on the webpage. The agenda of the website was to sell the product.

Which of the following do you think may be an indication that a “news” site is likely an advertisement?

Select all that apply.


Reading, watching, or listening to news about complementary health approaches can help you learn and stay informed about new medical findings. However, there’s a lot of important information to consider before you try a complementary approach featured in the news. No matter how promising an approach may sound, it’s important to talk about it with your health care providers before you try it.