An interesting and fully referenced (205 references) article caught my attention; it seems highly relevant to the discussions we are having on this blog. Let me show you the abstract:

Medical misinformation has always existed, but it has recently become more frequent due to the development of the internet and social media. Medical misinformation can cover a wide variety of topics, and studies show that some groups are more likely to be affected by medical misinformation than others, like those with less trust in health care, less health literacy, and a more positive attitude toward alternative medicines. Aspects of the internet, like echo chambers and algorithms, have contributed to the rise of medical misinformation, along with belief in anecdotal evidence and alternative remedies that are not backed by science. Some personal beliefs and a lack of media literacy skills are also contributing to medical misinformation. Medical misinformation causes higher rates of death and negative health outcomes, a lack of trust in medical professionals, and more racism and hate crimes. One possible way to combat the spread of misinformation is education surrounding media literacy. Still, there are gaps in this practice that must be addressed like a lack of high-quality research about different educational programs.

The author also offers the following key points:

  • Medical misinformation is becoming an urgent issue for United States citizens—leading to increased deaths,
    a lack of trust in health professionals, and hate crimes and racism.
  • Although this is a worldwide issue, the United States has the second highest rate of misinformation of any
    country, behind India.
  • One piece of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic stated that highly concentrated alcohol could
    disinfect the body and kill the virus. Studies show that 800 people died, 5,876 were hospitalized, and 60
    became completely blind from drinking methanol, thinking it would cure coronavirus.
  • Studies estimate that only 14% of the United States population has proficient health literacy, which makes it difficult to recognize medical misinformation.
  • Media literacy education is being pursued in order to combat the spread of misinformation, but more research is needed in order to understand the long-term effects of this education and what programs are best.


I would like to stress, as indeeed the author does as well, that medical misinformation is a phenomenon that is by no means confined to the US. Like most information, misinformation has become a global issue. Its dangers cannot be under-estimated. My blog offers an abundance of reports where misinformation in the realm of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) has caused harm and even death. The author advocates media literacy as a remedy for the problem. I would argue that even more important would be to teach CRITICAL THINKING, a task that has to start at school and must continue well into adult life.

This conclusion is so very obvious that it begs an important question: WHY HAS IT NOT BEEN DONE YEARS AGO? The answer, I fear, is simple: for reasons that are self-evident, governments have little interst in the public being able to think critically. On the contrary, governments across the world foremost want to be re-elected, and critical thinking would be a major obstacle to this aim.


19 Responses to The Effects of Medical Misinformation on the Public

  • quote
    “Medical misinformation is becoming an urgent issue for United States citizens—leading to increased deaths, a lack of trust in health professionals, and hate crimes and racism.”

    Did you think critically before repeating that quote? – Do you understand what it is saying? It says that misinformation leads to racism. (Do you agree?)

    So let’s suppose that that is true. What then is the type that is termed “misinformation”? What “leads to racism”? The type termed “propaganda” (Do you agree?)

    The real question is, why does Authority constantly use “misinformation” when they really mean “propaganda”?

    Because the truth exposes themselves (confession by projection) e.g. They prefer to back-peddle their “Safe and effective”* as type “misinformation” rather than “propaganda” in a back-door attempt to ally themselves with the type termed “anti vaxxer” now that the truth is coming out, and that “misinformation” e.g. about IVM and HCQ turns out to be type “information”
    all along.

    * Ministers in the House no longer use “safe and effective”, they use only “effective”, avoiding the “safe”.

    • When I visit this website I see a banner which says “….. if you make a claim in a comment, support it with evidence. ”
      Presumably you see that banner Old Bob.

      “Ministers in the House no longer use “safe and effective”, they use only “effective”, avoiding the “safe”.

      Where is the evidence to support that claim Old Bob?

      • Everything above may be redundant here in the UK if the State gets its way to force medical procedures on its citizens, “for-the-greater-good” e.g. From the Daily Telegraph:

        “It’s up to me, not a judge, if my 24 year old son gets the jab”:
        “…The issue the court is grappling with is whether the greater good – for Tom and society – will be served by him being injected, despite the risk the vaccine could pose to his complex medical conditions…”

        why would “the court” be “grappling” with a “complex medical condition”? Answer: because ever since 2020 medical care is a political decision made by the likes of Matt Hancock for “the greater good” with a product that does not stop transmission to protect grandma.

        • Old Bob wrote:

          From the Daily Telegraph:

          “It’s up to me, not a judge, if my 24 year old son gets the jab”

          Those words are fabricated, as anyone who has read The Daily Telegraph (The Telegraph) would reasonably suspect.

        • OK, so why not just come out and tell us you don’t understand how the law works here?

          Have you heard of the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court? You do know that there is no such legal concept of parental rights, only parental responsibility?

          This has long been the case and has nothing to do with 2020, Mat Hancock or Covid.

          • You only need to explain that to the mother, I am sure she will understand… unless, of course you don’t know what a woman is, because some law says otherwise!

  • The WHO decleared Vaccinehesitancy to be one of the ten most important public health threats a few years ago.
    I wish to suggest that medical misinformation, antivaccine cultism, fake medicine (e.g. homeopathic “remedies” and TCM nonsense etc. ), other make believe therapies and so called food supplement false claim marketing are overwhelming health hazards in our times that need to be respected and antagonised on par with other pandemic threats.

  • Ballard Briefs are generated through BYU–Brigham Young University. Color me a teensy bit skeptical of a University affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Not saying to condemn everything they do, but would like to know more–like what is the vaccine hesitancy rate in Utah? Mormons believe that Joseph Smith discovered “golden tablets” written in “Ancient Egyptian” and translated them with a “peep stone”. All this after he spent time in jail for fraud.

  • … “and hate crimes and racism”

    lol, you gotta throw the R word in to get maximum effect. After all, it’s 2024, everything is racist.

    The truth is that the population has become weary of the medical system that has few answers to chronic medical issues beyond prescribing expensive medication that only mask the symptoms, has no cure, while leading to other health problems.

    This documentary link I’ll post is moving. I’ve lived this reality myself, and also seen it play out in family members. Pharma meds do more harm than good. Especially the highly addictive meds.

    If anybody has family members that use meds for depression, anxiety, bi-polar, schizo…or even ADHD, I recommend they make themselves aware of the consequences of these meds. The MD’s won’t give you the warnings revealed by this documentary.

    The failures of science-based medicine lead the public closer towards medical skepticism.

  • Again
    To those that want to blame the conspiracy theorist and vaccine hesitant for the increase in skepticism of science-based medicine, I say baloney. The trend can be blamed on the industry itself.

    These links supply the evidence that places the blames where it belongs.

    • Dear John,

      No one bothered to respond to your previous comment (April 06). It looks like you came back with big guns to prove your conspiracy theories. You do a great job making a fool out of yourself.

      On a different note, we haven’t heard from you in a while, and I was getting worried that a sasquatch ate you. But it is good to hear from you and know that you are alive, kicking and pathetic as ever.

      Your friend,

  • Science based medicine the cause or medical skepticism.
    Paxlovid failure

  • The greatest amount of medical misinformation on the public was perpetuated by the state authorities and corporations.
    If you want the pandemic truths… I suggest you listen to every word.

    • @”John”
      Of course I didn’t click your YT link, as I’m willing to bet anything that it is the usual antivaxx/COVID/conspiracy BS – just your mentioning of the word ‘truth’ is a huge red flag already. But maybe you can tell us in a few words what the message is?

      And don’t get me wrong: I will follow any links to proper science-based sources that you may post – it’s just that I can’t remember any of your comments featuring such links. So far, it’s all been rather dim-witted conspiracy clickbait from people who are wholly incompetent in medicine, statistics and science in general.

    • @John

      You would be very interested to know that big foot is for real. Here is all the proof you will ever need:

      This is in a conspiracy theory, but cold hard truth. You’re welcome!

  • John on Friday 19 April 2024 at 00:28:
    “The greatest amount of medical misinformation on the public was perpetuated by the state authorities and corporations.
    If you want the pandemic truths… I suggest you listen to every word.”

    The contents of that video is bullshit. Where did you get your scientific education? In a nursery garden?

    • ama on Friday 19 April 2024 at 08:40 said:
      “…The contents of that video is bullshit.”
      Well that proves it then,

      • @OB

        Not that you are well known for your critical thinking skills. But, here is a thought experiment for you.

        Imagine you are walking along a pastoral road on a nice sunny day, enjoying some fresh air and sunshine. All of a sudden you smell something foul and sure enough you come across a steaming pile of BS. Would you stop and ask yourself, is this really BS or do I need to gather more data?

        It is common knowledge that you and John are purveyors of pure grade A BS. We don’t need to stop and think and ask ourselves if we need more data. We just know.

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