Flora Teoh

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

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 ..

2018’s most popular health article promoting cannabis’ safety found to be biased and misleading

in urhealthguide, by John Regan

— 20 Dec 2018

“The article fails to point out that only very limited, low-quality evidence supports the use of cannabis for treating chronic pain. The article also fails to describe the potent...

Scientists discuss the widely shared Huffington Post article “Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong”

in Huffington Post, by Michael Hobbes

— 17 Dec 2018

The article failed to place the science in context and overstated scientific confidence, resulting in flawed conclusions. Reviewers also pointed out the bias present in the article...

CLAIM REVIEWS

No conclusive evidence links consumption of bats with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

CLAIM
"Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak linked to eating bats"

SOURCE: Emma Parker, Gemma Mullin, Paul Joseph Watson, Daily Star, The Sun, InfoWars

Published: 26 Jan 2020

VERDICT

Contrary to claims in viral social media posts, Wuhan coronavirus was not lab-created nor was it patented years before outbreak

CLAIM
"[The coronavirus is] “new” yet it was lab-created and patented in 2015"

SOURCE: Chris Kirckof, Jordan Sather, Facebook, Twitter

Published: 24 Jan 2020

VERDICT

Colloidal silver does not treat infections when taken orally and can cause side effects

CLAIM
"Colloidal silver is effective for any infection"

SOURCE: Anonymous, The Natural Health Library

Published: 23 Jan 2020

VERDICT

Manuka honey possesses potent antibacterial activity, even against some antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but only via topical application, not consumption

CLAIM
"Raw manuka honey kills every bacteria scientists throw at it, including antibiotic-resistant superbugs"

SOURCE: Sara Burrows, Return to Now

Published: 18 Jan 2020

VERDICT

Claim by Robert F Kennedy Jr that one “vaccine injury” occurs for every 39 vaccinations is unsupported by scientific data

CLAIM
"Vaccine Injuries Ratio: One for Every 39 Vaccines Administered"

SOURCE: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Children's Health Defense

Published: 13 Jan 2020

VERDICT

Impossible Whopper contains no estrogen; will not lead to men growing breasts if eaten in moderation

CLAIM
"The Impossible Whopper has 44 mg of estrogen and the whopper has 2.5 ng of estrogen"

SOURCE: James Stanger, Tri-State Livestock News

Published: 10 Jan 2020

VERDICT

Triple antibiotic cream or gel cannot prevent the flu, may also worsen antibiotic resistance due to indiscriminate use

CLAIM
"Swabbing nostrils with triple antibiotic cream or gel will prevent the flu"

SOURCE: Facebook user, Facebook

Published: 09 Jan 2020

VERDICT

The flu shot is safe for pregnant women, does not increase the risk of spontaneous abortion

CLAIM
"4,250% increase in fetal deaths reported to VAERS after flu shot given to pregnant women"

SOURCE: Christine England, Vactruth, Health Impact News

Published: 31 Dec 2019

VERDICT

Popular Facebook meme misleadingly suggests that the measles vaccine caused 2019 Samoa measles outbreak

CLAIM
"Measles vaccine caused Samoa measles outbreak"

SOURCE: Anonymous, Stop Mandatory Vaccination

Published: 13 Dec 2019

VERDICT

The flu shot is safe and does not cause cancer, contrary to popular claim by chiropractor

CLAIM
"The flu shot is made with cancer-causing ingredients"

SOURCE: John Bergman, Anonymous Notables

Published: 10 Dec 2019

VERDICT

INSIGHTS

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...