By Shravanthi Chidambaram, PhD
Association for Science in Autism Treatment
More than ever, we are in dire need of access to accurate and evidence-based information. With the internet constantly bombarding us with content, it becomes quite an arduous task to sift through what is true and what is not. Blogs like NeuroLogica help us understand how to do this. The NeuroLogica blog is run by clinical neurologist Dr. Steven Novella from Yale University, School of Medicine. He is the President and co-founder of a non-profit educational organization called the New England Skeptical Society and the host of a popular weekly science podcast called The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. The NeuroLogica blog primarily contains news and information about neuroscience, but also covers other broader topics such as scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with media and society. The articles on the blog are well researched and science-based. It is regularly updated and has articles on recent discoveries; from the discovery of earth-sized rogue planets in the galaxy, to articles debunking humbug propelled by media, like magic amulets prevent COVID.
Taken together, these articles will help you better separate fact from fiction and assess claims critically and systematically and a few will be highlighted below:
Study Finds More Adulterated Supplements: Do your supplements truly help you? This article discusses how important it is to regulate supplements as they are currently not regulated in the United States. There is an urgent need for such oversight and monitoring as adulterated supplements can be harmful to the body if ingredients and dosages are not evaluated. These adulterated products may be even more harmful to children with autism than to others.
Have you ever questioned if the diagnosis for a few symptoms you are researching can be entirely inaccurate? This article essentially showcases why online symptom checkers can be grossly erroneous, or worse, lead to a complete misdiagnosis. The accuracy of the online systems is largely based on artificial intelligence used (i.e. based on the computer software used), which have no quality control. Learn more about this in the article. Keep in mind that proper diagnosis is required to treat any disease/disorder effectively.
When it comes to making good decisions, we must be adequately informed. This article describes how hard it really is to get the right facts from the myriad of information out there and how the word ‘research’ is being used very lightly. The article also provides insights on how to systematically sift through information to arrive at one’s own evidence-based, reasonable conclusion.
It can be very easy to believe something that may actually be totally false. This article highlights how someone’s half-baked narrative can get passed on as facts and how maintaining reason and objectivity is the only way to find out the truth (of the matter). More than ever, now is the crucial time to understand how important it is to make sure you are accurately informed, as the internet is filled with misinformation.
Demand Characteristics in Psychological Research. This article deeply analyzes, with examples, just how important psychological research is and how it can be subject to different interpretations. It also explains how real science questions and re-questions assumptions, and how vital it is to re-examine assumptions to further progress in science.
Anti-Intellectualism and Rejecting Science
Holding different opinions about an issue is totally different from believing outright in falsehoods. This article describes the impact of a group of people who reject science. The anti-intellectualism group rejects science either for political, religious, or cultural reasons with no evidence to back up their own viewpoint. More specifically, Dr. Novella describes the different types of people who reject science outright, and their various forms of rejection.
The Science Wars
This article highlights why science must be apolitical. Regardless of where the funding for the research comes from, or goes to (industry vs academia), scientific data should always be presented objectively and with the highest quality.
Facts vs Stories
The content of information is important, but so is its presentation. This interesting article illustrates how people are persuaded when presented with information as facts or as stories. It gives us an in-depth understanding of how people process information and form their beliefs.
Citation for this article:
Chidambaram, S. (2020). Consumer Corner: Shining a spotlight on the NeuroLogica Blog: The importance of data-based science. Science in Autism Treatment, 17(12).
Some related ASAT articles:
- Ten Resources for Consumers to Evaluate Information Sources
- Evaluations of scientific evidence need to be based on scientific approaches
- ASD Intervention: How do we measure effectiveness?
- Evaluating research
- Science, pseudoscience and antiscience
- Can scientists prove that a treatment does not work?
- Clinical Corner: Explaining decision to use science-based autism treatments
- What is evidence-based practice and why should we care?
- Determining the effectiveness of treatments available to persons with autism – Part One
- Determining the effectiveness of treatments available to persons with autism – Part Two
- “Verification” and the peer review process
Related Media Watch letters:
- Media Watch: ASAT Responds to Psychology Today’s 3 Ways That Pseudoscientific Therapies Can Be Harmful
- Media Watch: ASAT Responds to Texas Observer’s Autism Inc.The Discredited Science, Shady Treatments and Rising Profits Behind Alternative Autism Treatments
- Media Watch: ASAT Responds to Discover Autism’s A Wide Range of Therapy Programs’ Article