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Irwig L, Irwig J, Trevena L, et al. Smart Health Choices: Making Sense of Health Advice. London: Hammersmith Press; 2008.

Cover of Smart Health Choices

Smart Health Choices: Making Sense of Health Advice.

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Before you read this book

We have designed this book to cover a range of health interests. It is easiest to read at the start and becomes more complex as it progresses. Depending on your needs and level of knowledge, you may choose the appropriate parts or chapters without necessarily reading from cover to cover.

Part I: Health advice can be harmful gives an introduction to the reasons why health advice may be misleading. It discusses some of the common pitfalls for consumers and health professionals, how to identify meaningful health claims and research, and why it can be unwise to rely on the opinions of the experts.

Part II: Your body, your choice is for you if you feel you have an understanding of the pitfalls in health advice, but need to know how to make better decisions by asking the right questions. It discusses the five key questions (see next page) to help make the best possible health decisions and what to look for when choosing a practitioner.

Parts IIIVI are for you if you’re satisfied with your decision-making skills but need help in assessing whether your sources of information are reliable.

Part III: Stories and studies introduces the concepts of what features combine to make a good study.

Part IV: Evaluating the evidence deals with which study designs best answer questions such as whether a treatment works or what causes a disease.

Part V: Improving your healthcare explains where and how to find reliable evidence and how to use it, and suggests ways in which consumers can get involved in improving their health and healthcare services.

Part VI: Testing your skill starts with an opportunity to practise your skills on a range of articles from the media, internet and papers in the medical literature. Later chapters are for you if you want a more advanced understanding of numerical concepts underlying health decisions.

There is a glossary at the end of the book.

There are five questions that we suggest you ask when making a smart health choice. They form the core of this book and are covered in detail in Chapter 5. They are:

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Copyright © 2008, Professor Les Irwig, Judy Irwig, Dr Lyndal Trevena, Melissa Sweet.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers and copyright holder or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the appropriate Reprographic Rights Organisation.

Bookshelf ID: NBK63651
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