Archive - July 2018

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“Fake News:” Does It Affect Our Health?
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Hearing Loss and Diabetes

“Fake News:” Does It Affect Our Health?

By: Stacy A. Wein, Health Sciences Librarian, Copley Hospital

“Fake news” is fast becoming the latest “buzz” phrase. But, what does it actually mean? Printing and handing out fake news is not new. As far back as the turn of the century the term “false news” was being used. The term defines news that is often sensational and is disseminated under the guise of news reporting. Real news explains and offers evidence or sources of information being presented.

With social media platforms and other modern communication channels and devices, fake news and misleading information is quickly passed around. “Gone viral” is often heard when a story, discovery, photo or comment on Google gets passed around at lightning speed. And here is the problem – the content, fact or fiction, has been sensationalized. No one has taken the time to find out if it is factual before passing the story on.

How does this affect our health? When misleading information is taken for fact, it becomes misinformation. Patients may be influenced or confused by misleading research reports. They may not be unable to understand the difference between an advertisement for a drug that is an honest, evidence-based claim or one that makes false and misleading claims about the product. This affects the patient or consumer’s ability to make safe decisions concerning their health and may lead to unsatisfactory health consequences and loss of trust.

It is important to know how you can evaluate the credibility of online information and what you may read or hear. The National Library of Medicine offers tools to help you evaluate online information. MedlinePlus provides a tutorial on how to evaluate online health information. You can click here or you can use the search box on the MedlinePlus homepage; just type “Evaluating Online Health Information” in the search box.

Copley’s Health Sciences Library serves both Copley’s Medical Staff and our community by providing customized health information searches through a variety of print and online resources. We invite you to browse through our library yourself (computers are provided for your convenience) or check out a book from our Consumer Health collection.

Here are additional resources:

A “GOOD” ad

For more information why this is a “GOOD” health advertisement go to https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm082284.htm

A “BAD” ad

For more information about why this is a “bad” health advertisement, go to https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm082282.htm.

For reference questions or help locating reliable resources, call the Health Sciences Library at 888-8347 or e-mail our librarian at swein@chsi.org.

Hearing Loss and Diabetes

By: Nancy Wagner

People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without diabetes. People with prediabetes have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss than those with normal blood sugar, according to the 2009 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Scientists aren’t quite sure of the link or cause but have some theories:

  1. Chronic high blood sugars: These can damage blood vessels, thus disrupting blood flow to the cochlea, a small organ in the ear which is responsible for our hearing.
  2. Fluctuating blood sugars: frequent swings between very high blood sugars and very low blood sugars can damage the blood vessels in the ear.
  3. Chronic high blood sugars or rapid swings between high and low blood sugars may cause the cochlea to become inflamed and this swelling causes damage to the tissue and blood vessels.

Hearing loss usually happens gradually so it often goes undetected. Many times a family member or close friend will notice the problem before the person with diabetes does. Symptoms of hearing loss include:

  1. Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
  2. Trouble hearing higher pitched voices/noises – women and young children.
  3. Needing to turn the volume up on your TV or radio or cell phone.
  4. Having trouble hearing when there is background noise.
  5. Having trouble following a conversation involving more than 2 people.
  6. Not understanding someone talking in another room or when their back is turned.

Risk factors for hearing loss besides diabetes include:

  1. 65 years old or older
  2. Regularly exposed to loud noises
  3. Genetically predisposed to hearing loss
  4. Smoking
  5. Non-Hispanic white
  6. Male
  7. Living with heart disease
  8. Frequent ear infections (now or when younger)

If you suspect you have hearing loss talk to your primary care provider.  He or she may refer you to an audiologist who will conduct a hearing test. Once the inner ear is damaged, you can’t restore hearing. However, there are devices available including hearing aids and amplifiers for your phone. The audiologist will also teach you strategies such as lip reading.

Hearing loss can lead to embarrassment and isolation so please reach out to your provider for help. I developed hearing loss about 8 years ago as a result of a genetic predisposition. I learned many strategies from my audiologist and wear hearing aids in both ears. Your audiologist will also have helpful resources on paying for your hearing aids.


Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital.  She enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases