[20180622] 研究指出最受歡迎的健康新聞常言過其實

Can’t say we didn’t warn you: Study finds popular health news stories overstate the evidence

by Joy Victory @HealthNewsReview.org

研究人員收集了受到最多關注的前五十個醫療健康相關學術期刊文章、以及報導他們的媒體文章進行分析,發現 34% 的學術文章誇大了實驗或調查結果的可靠程度, 48% 的媒體報道誇大了學術文章呈現的結果,58% 的媒體報道包含了至少一種不準確的資訊 (研究問題、結果、實驗方法等)。

研究人員還建立了一個網站  MetaCausal ,公開了他們研究所使用的數據、方法,並提供了一些工具方便訪客瀏覽和分析數據。

觀察性研究 (observational studies) 除了少數例外之外 (如肺癌和抽煙的因果關係), 大部分都難以建立包含因果關係的結論, 但很遺憾目前學術圈充斥着這類研究,擾亂了政府公共衛生的決策以及個人生活方式的選擇:

They are not true experiments, with a control and placebo group. Sometimes, with lots of observational data–after longterm, repeated findings in thousands of people from different studies that used terrific methodology– the evidence becomes so strong that it can make sense to change public health or medical practice based on only observational data. Smoking and lung cancer is one such case. But it’s also clear that the literature has become littered with poorly done observational studies that make causal claims that cannot be supported.

Health News Review 自己統計的不準確新聞報導的比例 ——  61%,大致和本研究的比例 (58%) 差不多:

That 58% of the stories inaccurately reported the evidence closely matches our own number of 61% for the more than 2,500 news stories we’ve reviewed and assessed on our evidence quality criterion

延伸閱讀:

  1. Overstated findings in science and health reporting on social media (哈佛公共衛生學院的文章)
  2. MetaCausal (本研究的公開數據網站)

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