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Just because it's on the Internet...


Remember the old saying: “Just because it’s in print doesn’t make it true”? The same thing holds for what we read on the Internet – on WebMD, on Wikipedia, on Quackbusters. All these resources purport to be unbiased sources of information, and yet, if you read some of the articles carefully, they are often heavy with emotionally charged words.

For example, from a Wikipedia article on Functional Medicine, we read in the first sentence: “Functional medicine is a form of alternative medicine which proponents say focuses on interactions between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems.” This statement is accurate, as far as it goes. But “which proponents say…” implies immediately that these poor proponents are deluded and that the author of the article has more accurate information. The first sentence is followed immediately by “Functional medicine encompasses a number of unproven and disproven methods and treatments” setting the emotional stage for the last part of the sentence, “and has been criticized for being pseudoscientific.” And then we read in the next paragraph: “The discipline of functional medicine is vaguely defined by its proponents.” Those of us who have spent the many hours and dollars required to learn the discipline of Functional Medicine would disagree that it is in any way “vaguely” defined.

The rest of the article is no better. There is nothing in the article which is actually libel – but the whole tenor of the article is one of scorn, as though the writer were much better informed than the poor deluded healthcare practitioners who have espoused this form of healthcare for themselves and their patients.

If we remove the emotionally charged words, which are present in almost every sentence, it becomes very clear that the person who wrote the article is a strong disbeliever in the whole concept of functional medicine and personalized healthcare – which many of us have espoused as a significant part of our journey toward health.

So… whenever we read an article about any kind of health-related issue, let us be aware of the emotionally charged words, if any, and check several sources before making a decision as to their accuracy.

Dr. Mercola’s article about the content of information on WebMD is a good place to start – you will notice that he uses many emotionally charged words as well. So mentally remove the emotionally charged words, read the information, see if you can confirm its accuracy, gather information, do your own research, and then make a decision.