The FDA is intentionally suppressing natural cancer cures because of drug company pressure. Corporations are preventing public health officials from releasing data linking cell phones to cancer. Physicians still want to vaccinate children even though they know such vaccines are dangerous.
The truth is out there. So, apparently, are the believers in medical conspiracy theories like these.
Forty percent of Americans believe in at least one medical conspiracy theory like the ones mentioned, and 18 percent agree with three or more, according to a new study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine. The study was conducted by J. Eric Oliver, PhD, from the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. (Or so he claims).
To find out the level of “medical conspiracism,” in the American public, Oliver conducted an online- survey sampling 1351 adults in August and September of 2013 using the internet market research company You-Gov. He then weighted the results to provide a representative sample of the population. Respondents who took part gave their written consent.
He found that conspiracy theories about cancer cures, vaccines and cell phones to be familiar to at least half the sample. Those theories also enjoyed relatively large level of support among those who had heard of them. (37 percent for the repressed cancer cure theory, 20 percent believed the killer cell phone data theory and deadly vaccine theory.)
The study correlated these beliefs with health behaviors. Conspiracism correlates with greater use of alternative medicine and the avoidance of traditional medicine. High conspiracists were more likely to buy farm stand or organic foods and use herbal supplements and less likely to use sunscreen or get flu shots or annual checkups.
“Although it is common to disparage adherents of conspiracy theories as a delusional fringe of paranoid cranks, our data suggest that medical conspiracy theories are widely known, broadly endorsed, and highly predictive of many common health behaviors,” writes Oliver. “Rather than viewing medical conspiracism as indicative of a psychopathological condition, we can recognize that most individuals who endorse these narratives are otherwise ‘normal’ and that conspiracism arises from common attribution processes.”
Meanwhile, we can neither confirm or deny links between cell phones and cancer. However, cell phones may be to blame for many allergic reactions.