Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Medical Conspiracy Theories Popular in USA

My opinion:  I think the main thing that might be driving these theories forward is fear.  The medical landscape is so full of mysteries that people are likely to believe in one conspiracy theory or the other, especially if it is already quite popular.  It may also be driven by anger against the waning healthcare system in general.  I wonder how much research people do into conspiracy theories before they believe in them, and, if they actually have done research, how credible is it?  I wish the authors of this study had accounted for this and asked for a potential cause in their beliefs.  They could at least find out if these beliefs were inherent or not by asking how long the respondent has seriously considered such a theory.  This way, if the respondent indicates that they developed their belief recently, it is clear that a there must be a cause for this and the belief is not inherent.  Lastly, on another note, I wonder if this data isn't accurate because it was done through an online survey.  Are people without easy internet access more likely to believe in conspiracy theories because they cannot view scientific research?  Feel free to give thoughts and/or comments.

Half of Americans believe at least one medical conspiracy theory, study shows

"Our data suggest that medical conspiracy theories are widely known, broadly endorsed, and highly predictive of many common health behaviors."
By JC Sevcik   |   March 19, 2014 at 4:05 PM   | 
A nurse prepares a shot of H1N1 Flu vaccine for a patient. According to a new survey, almost two thirds of Americans have heard the theory that vaccines cause autism and nearly 20 percent believe it. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
| License Photo
March 19 (UPI) -- Do you believe that vaccines cause autism or that GMOs are being used to shrink the world’s population? Or that the government is preventing access to alternative medicines to benefit Big Pharma? That the government knows cell phones cause cancer but do nothing to stop it? That water fluoridation is suspicious? Or that the CIA infected African Americans with HIV?According to a study released Monday by researchers at University of Chicago, some 49 percent of Americans believe at least one of these medical six conspiracy theories to be true.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, questioned 1,351 adults in an online survey, asking whether they have heard of each of the above theories and whether they agreed or disagreed.
The survey also found that people who believed in conspiracies were more likely to seek out alternative medicine, with only 13 percent of nonbelievers taking herbal supplements compared to 35 percent of conspiracy believers.
Among those who believed conspiracies, 35 percent identified as liberal and 41 percent identified as conservative.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/03/19/Half-of-Americans-believe-at-least-one-medical-conspiracy-theory-study-shows/3511395254812/#ixzz2yy33H9YV

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