Healthcare // Patient Tools
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3/28/2012
12:40 PM
Paul Cerrato
Paul Cerrato
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Is That Healthcare Website Making You Sick?

Many healthcare websites provide valuable information that can help prepare you for the next doctor's visit. But some serve up misinformation that just might land you in the hospital. Here's how to tell the difference.
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The fact that alternative medicine websites vary in quality shouldn't discourage you from investigating the field of CAM (complementary alternative medicine). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) takes a balanced, objective approach to the subject, posting both positive and negative reports on herb therapy, nutritional supplements, and a variety of other natural remedies.

What separates this site from less credible ones is the quality of the evidence. The website recently reported on a study that found meditation done over an 8-week period reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in women. This study, for instance, was carefully controlled to rule out other contributing factors that may have influenced symptoms, and it was published in a respected medical journal--The American Journal of Gastroenterology--which means it first had to go through a review by skeptical scientists who would have rejected it if it hadn't met high standards.

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