French medical institute brings out book debunking fake health news

Find out what face creams are really capable of, whether dogs can actually detect tumours and settle the dark chocolate vs milk chocolate debate once and for all

27 September 2021

Can it be true that dark chocolate is good for you? Pic: Lee Key / Shutterstock

By Ellie Fullalove

A new book out this week, produced by French medical research institute Inserm (l'Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale), aims to explode common health myths for your ‘edutainment’.

Fake News Santé (Fake News Health) has been divided into chapters covering everything from women to food and mental health, with an entire chapter given over to Covid and the pandemic.

The 280-page book sets out to make complex subjects accessible by injecting humour into discussions as diverse as ‘can dogs detect tumours?’ (true, they can be trained to sniff them out) and ‘is video game addiction real?’ (not necessarily).

You can also find out to what extent snail slime can be useful in fighting arthritis, discover the pros and cons of ‘rawism’ (the raw food diet) and how worried we should be about mobile phone waves.

Misinformation about health and sickness may be nothing new, but social networks have helped advance old-fashioned remedies and make pseudoscience all-pervasive. 

And it is with this in mind that the book has been designed to "give science back its voice", says Chairman and CEO of Inserm, Dr. Gilles Bloch, in the foreword.

The book is an extension of Canal Detox, home of Inserm’s anti-fake news reports, which have been broadcast over the Internet since 2018. Fake News Santé comes out on September 30, published by Cherche Midi.

(And for those who love their chocolate, it turns out there is little on the health front to make dark chocolate better than milk chocolate after all). 

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