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People are easily duped about new diseases, conference is told

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7547.932-a (Published 20 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:932
  1. Bob Burton
  1. Newcastle, New South Wales

    The enthusiasm with which news outlets uncritically reported the spoof disease motivational deficit disorder and the drug indolebant took their creators by surprise (BMJ 2006;332:745, 1 Apr).

    David Henry, the convenor of a conference on disease mongering held last week in Newcastle, New South Wales, said the media coverage showed “that it is relatively easy to get [out] the concept of a disease that doesn't exist and a treatment that doesn't exist.”

    Dr Henry, who is clinical pharmacologist at the University of Newcastle, said the explanation for such gullibility was that “when it comes to health, people suspend the scepticism they use in other areas of their life.”

    Martin Palin, …

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