Flora Teoh

Science Editor

Flora obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. During her doctoral studies, she examined how a human-colonising microbe could evolve in response to changes within a mammalian host, and how this process could influence microbial virulence. After a brief stint as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, she joined Health Feedback in 2018 as science editor.

The Science Feedback team

ARTICLE REVIEWS

COVID-19 vaccine candidate by Pittsburgh scientists show promising results in animal studies, but clinical trials still needed before efficacy in humans is known

in Pittsburgh Magazine, by Garret Roberts

— 11 Apr 2020

Scientists who reviewed this article’s scientific credibility found that the reporting was generally accurate. However, they also highlighted a missed opportunity to provide read...

Viral New York Post article perpetuates the unfounded claim that the virus that causes COVID-19 is manmade

in New York Post, by Steven W. Mosher

— 02 Mar 2020

Overall, Mosher’s argument is based on unfounded speculation and scientific inaccuracies. Such claims, which continue to be perpetuated even by public officials, have real-world ...

New York Times accurately reports vaccine-derived polio outbreaks caused by low vaccine coverage

in New York Times, by Associated Press

— 02 Dec 2019

"The content of the article is correct: attenuated polio strain type 2 contained in the oral vaccine can – in very rare cases – mutate and cause disease in under-immunized pers..

Daily Mail article misleads with clickbait headline claiming cowpox-derived virus will “kill every type of cancer”

in Daily Mail, by Zoe Zaczek

— 20 Nov 2019

"This article substantially overhypes early pre-clinical work with a viral therapy that has not yet been tested in even the earliest stages of human clinical trials. The headline i..

Washington Post article provides accurate and insightful report on recent spate of vaping-related illnesses

in Washington Post, by Lena H. Sun and Lindsey Bever

— 13 Sep 2019

"At the moment, it is not possible to know if these pulmonary diseases are related to propylene glycol, glycerol, nicotine, flavorings, or more likely, synthetic/natural drugs some..

The Atlantic provides accurate summary of research on gut microbiome, hypothesizes well-reasoned potential benefits of consuming fresh produce

in The Atlantic, by James Hamblin

— 02 Sep 2019

"The article provides a well balanced discussion of current knowledge surrounding the gut microbiota and benefits of eating whole foods. The author could have provided more details..

Article claiming vaccines cause autoimmunity and autism due to fetal DNA contaminants found unsupported and implausible

in Vaccine Impact, by Theresa Deisher

— 09 Jun 2019

"While the letter provides some concerns about the fetal cell-derived DNA contamination in vaccines, it does not provide any actual evidence to support the claims made. The whole h..

New Scientist article accurately summarises polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) research but overstates significance of animal studies

in New Scientist, by Alice Klein

— 17 Jan 2019

"I think that the title overstates the position with the present level of knowledge and is too sensationalist. The ‘ovarian cysts’ stated to typically characterize PCOS are not..

Research showing benefits of exercise on ageing immune system correctly reported by Time

in Time, by Alexandra Sifferlin

— 11 Jan 2019

"The overall message of the article is a fair reflection of current scientific opinion that being physically active regularly throughout life most likely promotes healthy ageing of..

Time article on bone marrow transplant trial for multiple sclerosis treatment mostly accurate but needs more important details and context

in Time, by Alice Park

— 07 Jan 2019

"The article contains some inaccuracies and simplifications, but is overall accurate. It is not clear which article and whose scientific data it refers to. Such information should ..

CLAIM REVIEWS

Significant methodological flaws in a 2020 study claiming to show unvaccinated children are healthier

CLAIM
Vaccinated children are more likely to have adverse health outcomes like developmental delays, asthma, and ear infections compared to unvaccinated children.

SOURCE: Brian Hooker, Neil Miller, Children’s Health Defense

Published: 04 Jun 2020

VERDICT

Facebook posts spread unsupported anonymous claim that face mask use caused a lung infection in a healthy teenager

CLAIM
Wearing a face mask caused a 19-year-old grocery store worker to be hospitalized for a lung infection, due to breathing in her own carbon dioxide and bacteria.

SOURCE: Anonymous, Facebook

Published: 01 Jun 2020

VERDICT

Facebook posts misinterpret a study of 455 contacts of an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier to claim that asymptomatic spread does not occur

CLAIM
Asymptomatic carriers cannot spread COVID-19; COVID-19 is not contagious; masks are not needed to reduce COVID-19 transmission from asymptomatic carriers

SOURCE: Facebook users, Facebook

Published: 28 May 2020

VERDICT

The main cause of death in COVID-19 patients is respiratory insufficiency arising from viral pneumonia, not clotting disorder as claimed in viral social media posts

CLAIM
"Autopsies performed by the Italian pathologists [have] shown that [COVID-19] is not pneumonia but it is disseminated intravascular coagulation"

SOURCE: Chinonyerem Emmanuella, Facebook users, GistFlash, Facebook

Published: 26 May 2020

VERDICT

No evidence that using a face mask helps coronavirus enter the brain, contrary to claim by Russell Blaylock

CLAIM
"New evidence shows wearing face mask can help coronavirus enter the brain and pose more health risk, warn expert"

SOURCE: Russell Blaylock, Anonymous, The Science Times, Technocracy

Published: 19 May 2020

VERDICT

Contrary to claims in viral social media posts, the novel coronavirus was not man-made nor patented before outbreak

CLAIM
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was lab-created and patented; SARS-CoV-2 is not a new virus; COVID-19 pandemic was man-made and planned

SOURCE: Facebook users, Facebook, Twitter

Published: 15 May 2020

VERDICT

Vaccines do not cause mercury toxicity or autism, contrary to claim in London Real video

CLAIM
"Autism is nothing more than mercury toxicity"; vaccine ingredients are toxic

SOURCE: Rashid Buttar, London Real

Published: 15 May 2020

VERDICT

Wearing face masks does not cause hypercapnia or affect the immune system

CLAIM
Wearing face masks can cause carbon dioxide toxicity; can weaken immune system

SOURCE: Facebook users, Facebook

Published: 13 May 2020

VERDICT

Bakersfield physicians underestimate COVID-19 mortality using flawed statistics; wrongly claim sheltering in place causes weak immune system

CLAIM
You have a 0.03[%] chance of dying from [COVID-19] in the state of California. [...] it’s similar to the flu.

SOURCE: Daniel Erickson, Artin Massihi, Youtube, Facebook

Published: 04 May 2020

VERDICT

Little to no evidence that smoking protects against COVID-19; may increase risk of complications instead

CLAIM
smoking may protect against COVID-19

SOURCE: Christopher Snowdon, Spiked

Published: 29 Apr 2020

VERDICT

INSIGHTS

“Plandemic” vignette featuring anti-vaccination activist Judy Mikovits contains numerous false and unsupported claims about COVID-19

— 08 May 2020

This video is the first in a series of vignettes preceding a movie titled “Plandemic”. First published on 5 May 2020, it quickly went viral on Facebook, with more than 2.2 mill...

Did the COVID-19 virus originate from a lab or nature? Examining the evidence for different hypotheses of the novel coronavirus’ origins

— 24 Apr 2020

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, many hypotheses have been advanced to explain where the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) actually came from. Initial re...

Do radio waves from mobile devices cause cancer? A look at the evidence

— 08 Apr 2019

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives, and most people would not consider even leaving the house without one. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has est...

How we know vaccines don’t cause autism – and why this belief persists

— 26 Mar 2019

The claim that “vaccines cause autism” first received its scientific backing by Andrew Wakefield’s now-retracted study in The Lancet, published in 1998. The study...

The Most Popular Health Articles of 2018, a Scientific Credibility Review

— 28 Jan 2019

News about health and medicine touch the lives of many people, therefore they often become highly circulated on the Internet. Many of these articles achieve viral status, but how m...