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Almost Half Of Americans Believe In Medical Conspiracy Theories

Almost half of all Americans believe that the government and corporations are involved in medical conspiracies, according to research conducted at the University of Chicago. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, claims 49% of those questioned believed at least one of six conspiracy theories presented.

For example, 37% believe that the FDA is preventing the accessibility to natural cures for cancer and other diseases because of "pressure from drug companies," while 20% believe doctors and health officials push child vaccines even though they "know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders."

"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," the team wrote in their report.

The researchers added that it is important for doctors to understand the thinking of their patients.

"It's important to increase information about health and science to the public," said J. Eric Oliver, the study's lead researcher.

"I think scientific thinking is not a very intuitive way to see the world. For people who don't have a lot of education, it's relatively easy to reject the scientific way of thinking about things."

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