014 Social Media, Medicine, and Trust

07.11.2019 - By For Whom the Cell Tolls: Biology, Cancer, and Other Stories About Life

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We live in an age where social media provides a platform for everything - good and bad. I wanted to summarize how ideas can be spread, weaponized, and distorted, much like a disease. We also briefly go over the differences between ideas and beliefs. The episode takes a look at how stem cell clinics offer hope through social media without a solid foundation of biology with which to apply their therapies (that nobody knows how to control or stop from hurting people). Cancer can be an unfortunate consequence of visiting one of these clinics. We can reflect on how easy it would be for trusted health professionals to turn to social media to market "Miracle Cancer Cures", taking advantage of anyone looking for hope. The same hope that cancer patients need to fight their disease is poisoned by willfully ignorant endeavors like these. Learning how to harness science, logic, ideas, and human emotion is a key to overcoming the aggressive advance of non-well-meaning products. Emotion trumps logic in the courts of social media, and health professionals need to be ready to confront these challenges from the same perspective (or a dual one) instead of relying on scientific findings alone. Facts can convince you, but emotion can make you believe.

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