In this blog, Dr Paula Byrne, post-doctoral researcher with the University of Galway, explains the difficulty – and importance of – knowing whether health information is true, and explains how iHealthfacts – a website where the public can fact-check things they read and hear about health – aims to help.
Making health decisions: things that can help
In a blog for anyone making health decisions, Sarah Chapman looks at some key things that can help you make a choice that feels right for you. Included here are links to good resources.
Personal experiences or anecdotes (stories) are an unreliable basis for assessing the effects of most treatments
This blog explains why personal experience, or a series of personal experiences, can be misleading. Just because an individual got better after using a treatment does not mean that other people who receive the same treatment will also improve, or that the treatment is responsible – ‘regression to the mean’ tells us that experiences such as pain may improve anyway without treatment.
Choosing health care wisely when resources are scarce
This blog describes the first in a new series of Cochrane Special Collections which brings together examples of treatments and health care which - despite being costly and time-consuming - research suggests could be unhelpful to patients, or even harmful.
Antenatal steroids: demystifying the benefits and risks
In this blog for pregnant women and the people involved in their care, Fiona Stewart, Cochrane Network Support Fellow, looks at the latest Cochrane evidence from a review she co-authored on antenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of preterm birth and how it links to the Cochrane logo.
Publication bias: a problem that leaves us without the full picture on the benefits and harms of treatments
A large amount of medical research is never published and studies that are published are more likely to report favourable results. This blog explores how this ‘publication bias’ is a scientific and ethical problem that can lead to the benefits of treatments being overestimated, and harms being underestimated.
Screening: earlier detection of disease is not necessarily better
Lynda Ware, Senior Fellow in General Practice at Cochrane UK, explains why detecting diseases earlier by screening is not always beneficial, and may – in some cases – be harmful.
Teapots and unicorns: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
Lynda Ware explains that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and why it's important not to mistake one for the other, in the fourth blog in our series "Oh really? 12 things to help you question health advice."
Treatments can harm
This blog explores a number of cautionary examples, reminding that all treatments have potential harms. We should consider the evidence not just about whether a treatment works, but whether it is safe. This is the third blog of our special series on Evidently Cochrane: “Oh, really?” 12 things to help you question health advice.
Health advice in the media: how do we know what to believe?
We are bombarded with information and advice on our health. This blog gives advice on how to assess whether what we read is trustworthy and evidence-based.
All that glisters is not gold: are new, brand-named, high-tech, expensive treatments always better than old ones?
In the second blog of our special series "Oh, really?" Robert Walton looks with a critical eye at the value of new and expensive therapies for medical conditions.
Writing a Cochrane Review: my experiences of a diagnostic test accuracy review
Lucy Beishon blogs about her experience of writing a Cochrane diagnostic test accuracy review.