Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Endorsing Pseudoscience

Over the past few decades, there has been an explosion of books and programs that, while based on a kernel of scientific data, embellish the benefits of certain supplements, exercise routines and other therapeutic practices.  Often established or endorsed by physicians and other healthcare professionals who discovered a more lucrative use for their professional degree, the programs are generally directed toward management of common human maladies, especially those encountered by middle aged individuals; prostatism, bowel disorders, sexual dysfunction, depression, obesity and memory loss are among the common targets.

Long confined to infomercials, some of these "experts" are now turning up on educational channels, a careless endorsement of programs that have not been validated by scientific trials.  Misleading information is delivered to a receptive audience while potential side effects are either minimized or not mentioned at all.

Since programming executives seem to be failing in their due diligence, it is essential that the public learn to recognize the signs of pseudoscience.  If the health expert is offering a product or program that is guaranteed to cure a given problem, be suspicious.  If the expert's program comes with a book and/or set of DVDs, keep your hard-earned money.  If the expert implies that his product is free of side effects, be highly suspicious; man has yet to produce a medication or supplement that does not carry some risk of negative effects.  In the end, it is best to obtain medical advice from your healthcare provider and from science-based literature or programming.