Maurie Markman, MD
It would be difficult to overstate the revolutionary changes occurring in our understanding of the biological basis of human disease. Spectacular technological advances have permitted what appears at times to be the almost routine reporting of paradigm-changing molecular-level observations that affect basic and translational science and clinical medicine. This progress is palpable.
Further, the internet (among other communication channels) can rapidly convey even the most preliminary provocative scientific hypothesis into wide circulation for consumption by the lay public.
Yet all is not well in the sphere of science and in messaging to the public. Consider, for example, the report that “unfounded rumors about the Zika virus were shared online 3 times as often as factual news articles during an epidemic in 2016 and 2017.”1
Rumors were defined as “misleading, false, or fabricated content,” including the suggestion that Zika is a conspiracy or a condition resulting from pesticides.
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