About half of Americans believe medical conspiracy theories
Americans can love their conspiracy theories. A new study from the University of Chicago found that almost half of the U.S. population believes at least one medical conspiracy theory.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, surveyed 1,300 Americans on six different medical conspiracy theories to see how many people put stock in them. Forty-nine percent surveyed believed in at least one, and 18 percent believed in three or more theories.
Some of the theories listed included a link between vaccines and autism, that water fluoridation is a cover-up, and that health professionals know cell phones cause cancer. The most widely held belief is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preventing a cure for cancer due to the influence of drug companies.
Belief in these conspiracies can public health consequences, particularly if it causes parents to refuse to vaccinate children or makes people distrust their doctors.