We’ve been talking here (especially about Medpedia) about the vital question of what constitutes reliable information.

This morning I ran across a bit of idiocy on YouTube (you’re shocked, I know) regarding my own type of cancer, titled “Two New Drugs for Renal Cell Carcinoma,” which illustrates the point. I won’t even bother embedding it. But here are the comments I posted to it:

Bad video – I don’t know who produced this thing but the data is poorly presented and the drug names aren’t even pronounced right.

Interleukin (the treatment I got) is pronounced “-kin” not “-kine”.

She mentions “average survival.” The number she’s talking about is median survival; any student who’s taken Statistics 101 knows the difference and knows it’s important.

She pronounces Sorafenib “Surifanib” and at 1:10 pronounces Sunitinib “Sunitidim.”

This is shoddy. I don’t know who produced it but if a junior PR agency person did a shallow read of some journal abstracts and wrote a script, it would come out like this.

(And then, whoa, despite the video’s title, midway through it starts talking about colonoscopies then prostate cancer.)

If you chase the uploader’s link (YouTube user OncologyPodCasting, CancerTV.net), you get to this page about the founder:

“CancerTV and OncologyTV were founded by Myo Thant, M.D., a respected hematologist/oncologist who treated cancer patients for 30 years. Dr. Thant recognized that there is an abundance of misinformation about cancer.”

Hm. You know, doctors warn that there’s a lot of crap on the Internet. Evidently some of it comes from MDs. :–)

Seriously, who gets to say what information is reliable?

A friend’s daughter is here from overseas. In her country the newspaper publishers all have agendas, she says, so “The only sense is in the comments.” She reads the headline and the lede, skips the rest, and reads the comments. And that’s pretty much what we discussed here for Medpedia articles!

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