Editorial: Modern technology has the power and convenience to make every aspect of our lives better. Whether it is to buy goods online or watch TV on demand, it is seen by many as an essential right and provides choice. Although we are only selecting from goods and services that someone else has decided to make available. Which could be argued was always the case, so is there really a choice at all?
Part of the power of the virtual revolution is the ability to get information quickly, but this may also be part of the problem. News is often seen first on social media before being verified as accurate. “Shouting fire in a crowded theatre” is a phrase often used as a metaphor for inciting panic when there is no such event. This was emphasised by Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, who recently, and ironically via her Twitter page, said “Measles is entirely preventable through the effective and safe MMR vaccine. Please take the opportunity to vaccinate your children against this terrible disease”. Whatever your views on this topic, part of the idea of making this statement” is to try to provide an authoritative voice on the subject.
The problem may be that with so much misinformation being made available instantly and then repeated without any evidence, it is unsurprising that even when an authoritative figure makes an announcement, with supporting evidence, it can still be viewed with a level of scepticism.
In a recent enquiry to our information line, we were asked about psoriasis and the flu jab (see page opposite). The prompt for this call was following the issues in the media about MMR, so the knock-on effect of information in one area, can be very wide-ranging. The evidence that supports claims either against or for an action is often dependent on interpretation and whether we trust that interpretation. On pages 10-12 we look at some of the work championed by Dr Ben Goldacre, who is best known for his Bad Science column in The Guardian newspaper. His desire is to see all data available, so we can make an interpretation without a pre-selected bias of what the supplier wishes us to choose.
- Flu jabs and psoriasis
- NICE Quality Standards
- Uveitis and psoriatic arthritis
- Dietary changes can improve psoriasis
- Strep throat, psoriasis and tonsillectomy
- Treatment for nail psoriasis
- Where is the truth?
- Etanercept v methotrexate study
- The Future of Healthcare
- Fake medicines crackdown
- Your voice
... plus much more.