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Content on the Internet is unregulated; anyone can publish anything. It is important to be able to find good and reliable medical resources. When evaluating medical web pages, ask yourself the following:
Why did the person create the page? What's in it for them? Are they trying to sell me something?
Accuracy: Is the information based on sound medical research? Can the information on the web page be verified by another source?Are the sources cited reliable? Are there grammatical and spelling errors?
Are there footnotes, bibliographies, or references so that you can verify the information? Are these reliable? (a citation to US Weekly is probably not as reliable as an article from JAMA )
Who published the page? What are the person's credentials? What do you know about them? Is the person backed by a known organization? (the American Association for Cancer Therapy may be a made-up name for something operating out of someone's basement.) Is the person affiliated with a university? If so, is the person a student or a faculty member? Can you easily find contact information on the web page? Check the about us link, usually found at the beginning or the end of a webpage. What does the About Us section tell you about the purpose of the organization? Can you find a physical location for the organization? What is the domain name? .edu, .gov are the most reliable when it comes to medical information.
Is the information showing just one point of view? What kind of institution sponsored the webpage? A pharmaceutical company likely has a profit motive. A non-profit organization (such as the American Diabetes Association) likely does not. Can you tell if the information you are reading is an advertisement?
Do the graphics, fonts, and wording play to emotions? For example, beware of ALL CAPITAL LETTERS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! for example, MIRACLE CURE!!! Is the author using data to promote a position or a product?
Is there a date on the page? When was the page last updated? Do the links work? Has there been more recent research on the subject? Many medical treatments change with the publication of new studies. What was published a year ago may be outdated now.
Is the information complete? Are there sources given for more information on the topic?