There are an awful lot of fraudulent, deceptive and just plain nonsensical medical claims out there. Some are merely stupid. Others are actively harmful to your health. I’ve been the recipient of more than my fair share of spam from vendors of such quackery since my disabling injury in 2004, and I’ve learned to be deeply skeptical of them.
Now Dr. Amy Tuteur, a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, lists ‘Six red flags you need to recognize to quack-proof yourself‘. Here’s an excerpt.
Americans tend to be pretty savvy about advertising. Put a box around claims, annotate them with the words “paid advertisement” or “sponsored content” and most people approach those claims warily. Unfortunately, the same people who are dubious about advertising claims are remarkably gullible when it comes to quackery.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is surprisingly easy to tell quackery apart from real medical information. Quack claims are typically decorated with red flags … if you know what to look for. What follows is a list of some of those red flags.
1. The secret knowledge flag: When someone implies they are sharing secret medical knowledge with you, run in the opposite direction. There is no such thing as secret medical knowledge. In an age where there are literally thousands of competing medical journals, tremendous pressure on researchers to publish papers, and instantaneous dissemination of results on the Internet, nothing about medicine could possibly be secret.
There’s more at the link. Very useful and highly recommended reading.