Is There a Vaccine Against Fear? What You Need to Know About Medicine in the Media

Judith Acosta, writing in the Huffington Post, ponders how big business had changed the face not only of media, but of medicine. The demands of advertising conflict with the essence of healing, and awareness is the only antidote.

Being called upon to "do no harm", the first principle of medicine, requires a reasonable skepticism. This means that professionals providing medical treatment should not be moved by media. They must be capable of weighing the risks and balancing the promised benefits against the delivered dangers.

Acosta writes:

"Unfortunately, medical practitioners have not been immunized against panic ... If they are told there's a 'dangerous' epidemic on the way and in order to save their patients they must prescribe or inject the latest rescue cocktail, they will ... The only real virus we need to pay attention to, it seems, is the virus of fear being seeded on every form of media ... We are terribly worried about contracting and dying from the flu, but not terribly concerned about the proposed prophylactic treatments or how safe they are."

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