A Patient’s Perspective on the Risks of Misleading Medical News

In a viewpoint article in the journal Movement Disorders, Parkinson’s disease (PD) advocate and MJFF Patient Council Member Israel Robledo and Joseph Jankovic, MD outline the potentially harmful implications of unwarranted media hype around Parkinson’s disease research. Citing examples many can relate to — stem cells, medical marijuana and the cancer drug nilotinib — the authors highlight the concerning correlation between inflated media reports and patient interest in therapies that have yet to be confirmed safe and/or effective in PD.

Robledo puts the message in context for his fellow patients, emphasizing concern for overstated or incorrect reports, which he cautions can be dangerous and lead to false hope. “In many cases, grossly exaggerated, untrue or even fake news have infiltrated the main stream and social media by publicizing false medical information without any accountability or concerns for the safety of patients who are often grasping for straws in their own desperation to find ‘the cure.’ “

By drawing attention to the matter, Robledo hopes patients and physicians will become more vigilant and critical of what they read, and that they will exercise their best judgement in interpreting news to prevent potential harm.

Robledo’s commentary follows a previous blog in Scientific American, in which he urged the PD community to take a tempered approach to research news reports and asked the media to promote the “real deal.”

Author: Kristen Teesdale

Original Post: Click HERE

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