Can you trust Internet health information?
More and more, people are using the Internet to find information on all topics, including health information. A recent article by the PEW Internet & American Life Project estimates that 75-80% of Internet users have searched for health information online, and that most reported high levels of satisfaction with the information they found.
That said, not all sites on the Internet provide reliable health information. And, as Mark Twain famously said: “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint”.
Libraries can help you locate reliable health information on the Internet, by providing classes, electronic resources or by answering your questions in person or online. There are also a number of sites you can check to see if that alarming e-mail you just read is a hoax or fraud.
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According to a US government survey released this month, approximately 38% of US adults and 12% of US children used CAM therapies in 2007.
This 2007 survey marks the first time the National Institutes of Health have collected statistics about CAM usage among children, 1 in 9 of whom use CAM therapies. It is a rich source of information about how Americans use CAM therapies and why they use them.
The 24-page report is available for download at:
Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 10, 2008.
While the 2007 report reveals that overall use of CAM therapies among adults is similar to the 2002 data, use of some specific CAM therapies (such as deep breathing, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga) has increased significantly.