No to fake news, yes to scientific evidence
The increasing digitalization of contemporary society has brought with it the phenomenon of fake news. There is a lot of information circulating, but not everything that is being said is true. And this is a problem that permeates all the dimensions of our life. This phenomenon is, even more, worrying in all things related to health as it is often combined with a disregard for scientific evidence, as observed in anti-vaxx movements.
Through apps we can install on our smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc., we can better monitor our body and all its “engines” (heart, brain, etc.). Almost all smartphones come with an app that collects information about our physical activity. They can also bring installed apps that let you record information about eating habits, sleep patterns, etc. Smartwatches, or fitness devices such as Fitbit or Jawbone, may have sensors that measure heart rate, body temperature, sweat, and so on. The possibilities are immense. Whether in terms of devices we can use or in terms of what they can measure.
In many leisure situations, we are collecting information about our health or about habits that we know influence our health. There are thousands of apps that we can download and where to record and store a lot of information about us and our lifestyle (age, weight, height, physical activity, diet, sleep patterns, illness, moods, allergies, pain, menstrual cycle, fertility, medications we take, etc.).
And we make decisions about what to do with the results we see appear on the screen. The app itself can suggest these decisions: “get up and move” — it is a simple example. We all like to know that we are achieving our goal of walking 10,000 steps a day to stay “healthy.”
By the way, did you know that this goal of walking 10,000 steps a day was created for an advertising campaign by a Japanese pedometer manufacturer in the 1960s? That number was not based on any kind of research; it just sounded good! But it also does not hurt you to walk 10,000 steps day, do not worry.
But depending on the app, disease, organ or behavior being monitored, the suggestions may have more clinical content and, hopefully, be based on evidence gathered through rigorous scientific methods. However, there is no process for the scientific validation of any of the apps available for download. Many apps are not tested or validated and can even give advice contrary to best medical practice.
It is important to recognize the potential of technology in the contribution it can make to increasing health literacy. However, as with the news, one must look at the source of the content and say: no to fake news, yes to scientific evidence.
Senior Lecturer in Health Economics in the Division of Health Research at Lancaster University, United Kingdom | President of the Portuguese Association of Health Economics | Former member of Nova SBE Health Management & Economics Knowledge CenterWebsite
3D printing of your pills
We all know what a pharmacy is: a place where we can obtain chemical products, which we call pharmaceuticals. Not long ago, these products were manufactured at the pharmacy. With the proper scientific advances and the development of modern manufacturing processes, the pharmacy evolved into a place that mostly makes available such chemical products and helps people by counseling them. Pedro Pita Barros enlightened us on this topic.Learn more
No Ordinary Leaders - Analyzing Female-Headed Households in Palestine Refugee Camps
Pedro Pita Barros, KC Health Economics & Management Scientific Director, analyses the characteristics of being a female head of household in terms of health outcomes and family expenses in Palestine Refugee camps in Lebanon.Learn more
Measuring state medicaid home care participation and intensity using latent variables
Population aging and policies to redirect long-term care toward home- and community-based services have led to increases in Medicaid home care spending in most states. This study measures state Medicaid home care Participation and Intensity comprehensively using latent variables, and uses those latent variables to describe changes in Medicaid home care policy generosity over time and across states.Learn more