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Health Information Reliability: How do You Really Know Which Health Information to Trust?

Searching for reliable health information can easily take on the feeling of a full-time job. Between searching online, sorting through various health books, and paying attention to the latest health news headlines, it is quite possible to find a pro and a con opinion for just about any topic you may be interested in.

Not sure who you can trust when it comes to reliable health information? Congratulations, you've just mastered a hallmark of getting to the truth: first, being suspicious.

However, more potentially damaging than hearing two sides of an issue is hearing only one biased side. When you think about health information reliability, more and more often it is this bias that may be tainting seemingly legit sources - often frighteningly so.

Reliable Health Information: An Oxymoron?

It's sad to say, but the idea of "reliable health information" is fast turning into an oxymoron, at least in the public's eye. Why? Because it seems everywhere you turn researchers and policymakers are being paid off, products are being peddled or seemingly "independent" parties turn out to be investing in, or working for, the very entity they're trying to promote.

Here we are referring not only to Web sites that are clearly selling tons of supplements, but even "trustworthy" sources, like those from the government. Pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturers are two of the largest lobbying groups, who are essentially buying Washington, D.C. and much of the health information it disperses.

From 1998 to 2005, drug companies have spent $758 million on lobbying -- more than any other industry, according to an analysis of government records by the Center for Public Integrity. The industry has 1,274 lobbyists in Washington … that's more than double the members of Congress.

"They are powerful," says Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "You can hardly swing a cat by the tail in that town without hitting a pharmaceutical lobbyist."

Not to be outdone, the food industry has also done its share of lobbying, to the tune of many millions. Can you, then, with any degree of certainty, trust that the source of governmental agencies' information is unbiased, and looking out for the public's interest? Or, is it trying to please its drug-toting, junk-food peddling "sponsors"?

In order to have true health information reliability, you need to turn to sources that have not been bought. At, our information comes only from reputable sources -- we get our insights only from research institutions, clinical studies, and health experts such as physicians, nutritionists and professors. Furthermore, the information you read here at is not tilted or tainted to meet the needs of our "sponsors" -- in fact, we have no sponsors! No drug company or other corporate funding, no government "influences," etc.

There is a light at the end of the health information tunnel: Web sites like and other independent sources are here to provide you with unbiased, un-bought and understandable health information you can trust.

Know Where the Information is Coming From

Which brings us to Rule #1 when it comes to finding reliable health information: Know where the information is coming from.

Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its instructions for evaluating reliable health information on the Internet, says you should pay close attention to where the information on the site comes from.

So surely you would want to know that, for instance, the Web site for the sleeping pill Ambien is run by Sanofi-Aventis, the drug's maker, and TeenScreen, a controversial survey for children intended to diagnose psychiatric problems, was developed by psychiatrist David Shaffer, who is a consultant and apologist of pharmaceutical companies.

You simply must question every study, every Web site, every researcher that you see, read or hear, and confirm that they, or it, is not biased. Even the nightly news coverage of health topics is questionable, as the parent network is probably receiving BIG advertising bucks from the pharmaceutical companies.

This may explain why seemingly big news events seem to evaporate into thin air. Just last month, for instance, a cow with mad cow disease was found in Alabama, making it the third discovered in the United States. The incident was being "investigated."

Other items, like the growing debate surrounding genetically modified foods or the passing of the Cheeseburger Bill also receive little airtime on mainstream media outlets, at best.

That is why here at we are devoted to providing you not only with safe, unbiased and reliable information, but also thorough coverage of all the health and wellness news out there -- at you will never get only one side of the story, as we believe in presenting you with the facts so you can make up your own, educated, mind.

Sorting Through the Ever-Changing Medical "Facts"

Of course, medical science itself is also constantly shifting -- one day coffee is great, the next it's the worst thing for you, is just one example. On top of making sure your source of reliable health information is independent, unbiased and un-bought -- and making sure it is based on research rather than guess-work -- it is helpful to peruse a number of reliable sources. Only then can you make your own confident and educated decision about the health issues that matter to you.

Recommended Reading

Is Your Doctor Skimping on Giving You the Best Advice?

Adverse Drug Reactions On the Rise: What You Can Do to Shield Yourself from the Dangers of ADRs


USA Today: Drugmakers go Furthest to Sway Congress

Teen Screen: A Front Group for the Psycho-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex

The Center for Public Integrity

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