a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 594.3 

Guest: Martha Hill, PhD, Health information, Behavioral Sci. Johns Hopkins, New President, American Heart Association. 

Topic: Media & health 

Host/Producer: Steve Girard 

NEMA: How well is the media covering health?...coming up... 

SPOT: The best emergency is one that doesn’t happen. The National Emergency Medicine Association. Visit us at www.nemahealth.org. 

NEMA: Health publications, radio & TV programs, and internet health information...we are deluged with ideas on how to stay healthy. But it’s not all useful, or even true. Martha Hill is the new president of the American Heart Association...  

HILL: I think it’s quite exciting that there’s been such an increase in the amount of information about health and prevention that’s available to people. I understand that the health section, when newspapers run their weekly health section, that they get a big jump in sales. And there certainly is a great deal of information available through bookstores and the world wide web and other sources. And in general I think the quality of it is quite high. What can be confusing to people is two things: one is we’re constantly discovering new findings, and new factors that may be relating to treatment. 

NEMA: Hill is a professor of nursing at Johns Hopkins, and a research director...who knows that the quest to answer, "What’s good for us"? takes a winding path...  

HILL: Many times, scientists don’t really have the answers to those questions. And that’s why, I think, some of the statements...some of the information that’s available may be a bit wishy washy. It sounds kind of like it’s equivocating, or hedging...so many times the information is not yet ready or available. And the other point is that as new studies are done, we may find that we have to modify previous understanding, because the new information provides us with new insights, and we develop a greater appreciation of the real benefits or value of certain prevention strategies.  

NEMA: I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.