Hyped science gets big press in December
Media outlets have been busy this month reporting about the consequences of overpromoting science for profit or ideology:
- Drug companies have pushed the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to the point where it has now become “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.”
- The FDA has demanded proof that antibacterial soaps are doing more good than harm
- GlaxoSmithKline announced that it will stop hiring doctors to promote its drugs
- Taking a daily multivitamin has no benefit and may actually be harmful to your health
- Some media have put a biased spin on studies of organic foods, promoting these foods as healthier choices when the science doesn’t support this conclusion.
These reports aren’t surprising, of course. Science information is just as susceptible to change, misinterpretation and misuse as anything else. Still, given the recent decline of public confidence in science, this news is piling on.
The good science marketing news is harder to find, but it’s out there (we hope). For instance, click here to read this great story about how biologist Pete Myers helped change the way science research is reported in the media.