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January 2, 2013

Slate: Dr. Oz' miracle diet is malarkey

(Continued)

We can also arm ourselves with the knowledge that not all evidence is created equally, and celebrities — even famous doctors — are not credible sources of health information.

Some other rules for sifting nuggets of good evidence from gobbledygook include: Research involving humans is typically more relevant than animal models; prospective, randomized, controlled trials are usually better than retrospective, observational analyses; large studies are better than small studies; multisite studies are better than single-site; and systematic syntheses of all the available evidence are more informative than individual studies presented out of context.

Our own doctors will probably know more about what's good for us than our favorite celebrities, their doctors, or even America's doctor, the wonderful wizard that is Oz.

Julia Belluz is the Science-ish blogger, a senior editor with the Medical Post, and contributing writer for Maclean's magazine.

Steven J. Hoffman is an assistant professor at McMaster University and the McMaster Health Forum, a Trudeau Scholar, and an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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