Every day, claims are made about, for example, the effects of drugs, specific foods and cancer risk, risks and benefits of moderate alcohol consumption and about a magic diet pill, nutrient or exercise plan. These claims are made by journalists, health care professionals, marketing companies, governments, researchers and by family and friends. Unreliable claims can lead to poorly informed choices, under- or over-use of things we might do to improve or maintain our health and unnecessary waste and human suffering.
iHealthFacts is a resource where the public can quickly and easily check the reliability of a health claim circulated by social media. We hope this information will help people think critically about health claims and make well-informed choices.
Each health question is assigned to a named member of our research team who undertakes the preliminary research and writes the first draft of the answer to the question we are answering.
We try to locate the source material of the claim for accuracy and elaboration. We then search for evidence to support or refute the claim. We search for systematic reviews of studies to help us inform decisions. If these are not available, we will search for individual studies. Where appropriate, we also search for statements from reputable health agencies. For complex claims, other members of the research team may provide additional research support.
Once a health claim has been researched and an ‘answer’ drafted, a second named researcher reviews it independently. The answer is then reviewed by at least one healthcare specialist and public representative from of our team of evidence advisors before final review by our health journalist.
iHealthFacts will answer health claim questions that are submitted by the public. iHealthFacts cannot offer medical advice to an individual or reply to individual questions. Newly submitted questions are prioritised based on:
- How often the question is asked
- How serious the consequences might be if someone acted on the claim
- The potential for spread of the claim and the potential for improving health decisions by answering the claim
While we can’t answer every claim submitted, we will do our best to answer as many as possible.
Our aim is to provide robust, unbiased information. We hope this information will help members of the public think critically about health claims and make well-informed choices.
We endeavour to ensure all data and text is accurate at time of posting to iHealthFacts.ie. However, we recognise the importance of post publication clarifications and corrections. All post publication changes will be posted online as corrections.