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Fake info hidden in “health books” and “medical books” – NHK “Fake Busters”


The other day, NHK’s “Fake Busters” (a program that is broadcast irregularly several times a year) featured “‘Freedom of the Press and Medical Information.” It’s about allegedly fake “health books” and “medical books”.
It is said that “information on the Internet is a mixed bag of gems and fake facts”, but what about health books? This was a program that raises such issues and introduces measures to avoid being misled by dubious information.

Evidence from best-selling health books

Currently, approximately 70,000 new books are published annually. In other words, nearly 200 new books are sent out to the world every day. I don’t know exactly how many “health books” are among them, but every day several new “health books” and “medical books” are published.
Can those books be trusted?
In the program, where experts examined the top 10 health and medical books recommended by Amazon, there were several books (6 out of 10) in which insufficient scientific basis (evidence) was introduced.

How to identify reliable information

In other words, not only information on the Internet, but also information in books is a mix of gems and fake info, and not all correct information. How can you find out which information is accurate and which is useful to you? In the program, the following six points were suggested by doctors, librarians, editors, etc.
● Let’s understand that “standard treatment” is the best scientifically accepted treatment method at the moment
● Beware of “Personal Opinions”
● Read the back of the book (whether specific products are introduced or references are listed)
There are books in the library with dubious scientific basis
●Make a habit of collecting only desired information
Do not rely only on books; consult with experts

Reliable books over over-simplified books

Also, critic Tsunehiro Uno, who served as the MC for the program, said: “A book that says, ‘This will solve it,’ is not a very good book. A really good book doesn’t have easy-to-understand answers, and it asks new questions. A book that says ‘The rest is up to you to consider,’ is a more reliable book.”
Some books assert concepts like “Do ●● for your health,” and “If you do ●●, you’ll be cured.” But if you seek too many easy-to-understand answers, you may be swayed by inaccurate information.
Also, any expert can only tell the truth in the world they see. If you want to improve your health literacy, it’s important to read and compare books by multiple authors in the same genre.

Back to list of useful medical information