metabolic health

Light physical activity can improve metabolic health in children: Study

Among overweight and obese youths, increased LPA linked with 20 per cent reduced risk of worsening hyperinsulinemia.   Light physical activity (LPA) is linked to a lower chance of developing excess insulin and insulin resistance from childhood to young adulthood. Increased sedentary time worsens metabolic health, especially in those who are overweight or obese, says a […]

breast cancer

Deep inequities, underreported suffering in global breast cancer battle: Report

Lancet Commission report estimates global breast cancer incidence to rise from 2.3 million new cases in 2020 to over three million by 2040 and one million deaths annually.  In 2020, 7.8 million women were alive having been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years, reflecting progress in research and cancer management that has […]


India closing the gap between estimated and reported TB cases: Report

India TB Report 2024, by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, highlights the pressing need to improve the adoption of latest technology to combat the disease.  Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s annual report on the state of tuberculosis (TB) India TB Report 2024 shows significant progress in the detection and treatment of […]

Cancer capital

India ‘Cancer capital of the world’: Report

Apollo Hospitals’ Health of Nation report shows a concerning surge in non-communicable diseases, which are now manifesting at increasingly younger ages across the country.    Apollo Hospitals, the largest private hospital network in India, recently released the latest edition of its flagship annual report, Health of Nation, which shows a concerning surge in non-communicable diseases […]

online information

Social cues shape perceptions of online information: Study

By acknowledging the social aspects of online information consumption, the researchers contend that we gain valuable insights into our susceptibility to misinformation.  In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become central to how we consume information. Yet, the role of social cues and source credibility in shaping our perceptions of online content often goes […]

misinformation, disinformation

US launches Foreign Ministry Channel for Health Security to counter health misinformation, disinformation

Climate change, growing regional instability, the rise of misinformation and disinformation increase the complexity of preventing and responding to the next pandemic. The United States has launched Foreign Ministry Channel (FMC) for Health Security, making health security a foreign policy priority, and effectively addressing health-related misinformation and disinformation. This comes with the recognition that the […]

social media

Pro tips to find scientific health information on social media

Nutrition and fitness expert Layne Norton offers some sound advice on navigating false, misleading claims online.  While self-proclaimed health experts on social media platforms are some of the biggest perpetuators of health misinformation, there are also several qualified professionals, who share valuable information online on health and well-being. Layne Norton, a PhD holder in Nutritional […]


Vaccine misinformation fuels measles resurgence in US

58 new measles cases reported by 17 jurisdictions, raising fears of comeback of the disease that was declared eliminated from the US 24 years ago.   In 2000, measles was declared eliminated from the United States of America. However, recent trends show a resurgence of measles cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated […]


WHO proposes pandemic agreement, not treaty

The ninth Intergovernmental Negotiating Body meeting will be held in hybrid format from March 18 to March 28, 2024. Ahead of the ninth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a World Health Organization (WHO) instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, later this month, the WHO has started an aggressive campaign on the […]

misleading health ads

Indian court takes firm stand on misleading health ads

The Supreme Court orders immediate ban on all electronic and print advertisements by Patanjali Ayurved. In a scathing indictment, the Supreme Court of India has criticised the Central Government for its lack of action against Patanjali Ayurved, co-owned by yoga guru Ramdev, in a case involving “misleading and false” advertisements. The apex court remarked that […]


Exercise is an effective treatment for depression: Study

While walking or jogging benefited both genders, strength training was more beneficial for women, and yoga or qigong was more effective for men. A recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, finds that exercise is an effective treatment for depression, with walking or jogging, yoga, and strength training more effective than other exercises, particularly […]


Interview: ‘Misinformation can lead to misunderstandings about scientific facts’

Dr Safieh Shah, First Check member and Canada-based senior policy scientist, talks about the power of collaboration, the prevalent challenges, and the urgency to strengthen our fight against health misinformation. “The landscape of health misinformation is dynamic and changes over time, as does social media,” says Dr Safieh Shah, First Check member and senior policy […]


AI-generated content cannot provide personalised medical advice: Study

While ChatGPT 3.5 and 4.0 can serve as supplementary sources for health information, a recent study underscores the need for validation and scrutiny of AI-generated content.  By First Check Team As health misinformation continues to spread across various online platforms, the reliability of sources becomes paramount. An interesting study sought to evaluate the potential of […]

global pandemic

Conspiracy theories major obstacle to new global pandemic treaty: WHO

Despite lessons that should have been learned during COVID-19, the world is unprepared for the next pandemic, be it an influenza virus, another coronavirus, or “Disease X.” A new global pandemic treaty is in the works. The motive of the treaty is to prepare the world for the next pandemic, be it an influenza virus, […]

Health Misinformation

Use behavioural science to fight health misinformation: Study

Latest research underscores the importance of recognising the content, tactics employed by spreaders, and understanding the motivations of those susceptible to misinformation. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of social media in public health has become increasingly evident. A recent research titled ‘Using Behavioural Science for Infodemic Preparedness: The Case of Vaccination […]

vaccine misinformation

Dilute vaccine misinformation with large amounts of scientific evidence: US FDA experts

Vaccine hesitancy brings about a substantial risk to the population’s immunity against vaccine-preventable infectious diseases and could potentially lead to thousands of deaths.  Plummeting vaccination rates currently pose a major public health challenge in the United States. A recent viewpoint article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Peter Marks and Robert […]


Measles: Misinformation-fuelled vaccine hesitancy puts children’s lives at risk

The CDC reported that measles cases in 2022 increased by 18%, and deaths by 43% globally as compared to 2021.  Misinformation on vaccines, spread by a section of social media users, is contributing to vaccine hesitancy and negatively affecting public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 10-year low in routine […]

Video gamers

Video gamers at risk of irreversible hearing loss, tinnitus: Study

Researchers note the need to consider permissible noise levels and exposure duration to determine safe listening practices. Recent research findings suggest that video gamers worldwide may be jeopardising their hearing, exposing themselves to irreversible hearing loss, and persistent tinnitus. Researchers analysed data from studies involving over 50,000 individuals and found that reported sound levels often […]

HPV vaccines

Cervical cancer awareness month: HPV vaccines are safe

While India’s Union Health Ministry is yet to take a decision on the roll-out of HPV vaccination against cervical cancer, misleading posts and videos are doing the rounds on social media channels. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. While India’s Union Health Ministry has said it is yet to take a decision on the roll-out […]


Decline in tobacco use rates globally: WHO

Currently the WHO South-East Asian Region has the highest percentage of population using tobacco at 26.5%, with the European Region not far behind at 25.3%. The World Health Organization (WHO) tobacco trends report released earlier this week brings some good news. The world is getting closer to the voluntary target of a 30% relative reduction […]

A pill or injection can’t address the complexities of obesity: Lancet

Weight loss is only maintained while taking the drugs; once treatment stops, weight can be regained, and so the costs of chronic treatment, for both individuals and health systems, could be substantial. Global efforts are on to discover effective drugs for obesity and diabetes. While a simple pill or injection will undoubtedly help some patients, […]

Physical activity

Moderate to vigorous physical activity can help COPD patients: Study

Getting 20 minutes of intense activity at least three days a week, or 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a week can make a positive difference for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Exercising more, specifically doing moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), can help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), […]


ChatGPT gives incorrect diagnoses, but holds promise

The LLM-based chatbot reached an incorrect diagnosis in 83 out of 100 pediatric case challenges, finds study.  A large language model (LLM) based chatbot gave the wrong diagnosis for the majority of paediatric cases, finds a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Among the diagnoses, 72% were incorrect and 11% were clinically related but too […]

Social media listening crucial for tackling infodemic’s impact on health: Study

There is growing evidence of the impact of the infodemic on non-communicable diseases, climate change, vaccine acceptance, and mental health, among many other health concerns. A recent study says that social listening and integrated analysis to generate infodemic insights are the first step in managing the infodemic.

Fact-checking health in 2024

Medical practitioners, fact checkers and journalists need to collaborate to make it happen As 2023 draws to a close, global health regulators are issuing warnings against counterfeit versions of Ozempic, a drug used for type 2 diabetes. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confiscated ‘thousands of units’ of counterfeit medication within the American drug […]

cancer trials

Critical gap in cancer trials in India, finds study

Several states in Northeast India had no registered clinical trials available to cancer patients from 2007 to 2021. A recent study revealed a disconcerting reality about India’s fight against cancer: Between July 2007 and December 2021, a mere 1988 cancer clinical trials were registered with India’s Clinical Trial Registry (CTRI). This figure pales in comparison […]


COVID-19 vaccine not the cause of unexplained sudden death among young adults: ICMR Study

Certain high-risk behavioural factors such as binge drinking, smoking and strenuous physical activity were found to be positively associated with unexplained sudden death. COVID-19 vaccination did not increase the risk of unexplained sudden death among young adults in India, states the latest Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study. On the contrary, the study finds […]

umbilical cord

Delay umbilical cord clamping by two minutes to reduce premature baby deaths, says study

It allows blood to flow from the placenta to the baby whilst the baby’s lungs fill with air, potentially easing the transition into breathing. Waiting for two minutes or longer to clamp the umbilical cord of a premature baby likely reduces the risk of death soon after birth, according to two companion systematic reviews and […]

Climate Change

370% rise in heat-related deaths by 2050 if climate goals unmet: The Lancet report

The 2023 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change highlights how the health of humanity is at grave risk. The 2023 report of the ‘Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: the imperative for a health-centred response in a world facing irreversible harms’, released earlier this week, provides a disturbing glimpse of […]

UNESCO disinformation

UNESCO unveils action plan to regulate social media platforms to fight disinformation

The first World Conference of Regulators to be held in mid-2024; to mobilise dedicated funding, including one million Euros pledged by the European Commission. While unveiling an action plan to tackle online disinformation on November 6, 2023, UNESCO made a strong comment on the escalating proliferation of online disinformation and hate speech becoming “a major […]

Emergency contraceptive pills

Fact-check: Emergency contraceptive pills are safe

While they can be a powerful tool of women empowerment, there’s an urgent need for public awareness and access, coupled with efforts to promote gender equality in the reproductive sphere. A viral tweet – with three million views at the time of this writing – on the perils of using emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) claims […]


AI can perpetuate harmful, debunked, racist ideas in healthcare: Study

A recent study highlights the potential dangers of integrating Large Language Models in healthcare systems without addressing inherent biases. A recent study published on npj Digital Medicine (Nature) highlights the potential dangers of integrating Large Language Models (LLMs) in healthcare systems without addressing inherent biases. At a time when artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly getting […]

The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science

Rise of anti-science movement claims millions of lives, warns researcher

In his book ‘The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science: a Scientist’s Warning’, Peter Hotez notes that health misinformation is organised, well-financed, and politically motivated. ‘The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science: a Scientist’s Warning’ by Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, USA, is essential reading for out […]


Fact-check: Vitamin C can’t ward off the flu

Vitamin C has long been of interest to medical experts and researchers for its role in supporting the immune system and its potential in preventing and treating infections. As the cold and flu season approaches, many individuals arm themselves with a familiar defense: pills, powders, and various forms of vitamin C. Does vitamin C actually […]


Nipah virus infection: 10 facts

It’s important to be informed about the infection; don’t be swayed by fear mongering and misinformation. By First Check team Nipah virus infection is suspected to be the cause of two recent deaths due to fever in Kozhikode, Kerala. While the suspicion can only be confirmed once the test results from the National Institute of Virology […]


Hypertension affects one in three adults globally: WHO global report on hypertension

The first-of-its-kind, comprehensive analysis finds that currently, only one in five individuals with hypertension has their condition under control. Strengthening hypertension control programmes is crucial.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recently unveiled a first-of-its-kind report highlighting the devastating global impact of high blood pressure, a pervasive health issue often referred to as the “silent killer”. […]

Mis Information

A good start: YouTube’s long-term vision for medical misinformation policies

The platform will streamline existing guidelines to fall under three categories – Prevention, Treatment, and Denial. By First Check team  As the threat of health misinformation continues to loom large across the globe, YouTube recently announced its long-term vision for medical misinformation policies on the platform. The video platform will start by removing content that […]

First Check

First Check bags Global Fact Check Fund award

IFCN awarded 35 organisations serving 45 countries with $25,000 each to strengthen the impact of their fact-checking projects. The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) on Thursday announced grant recipients from the Global Fact Check Fund’s BUILD phase, which aims to help fact-checking organisations scale or upgrade their online presence. First Check, DataLEADS’s flagship health fact-checking initiative, […]

The Mercury Project: Call for proposals

The Social Science Research Council announces USD $2 million grant for projects designed to increase demand for childhood vaccines, HPV, polio, measles, and COVID-19 in low- and lower-middle income countries. 

Are DIY disinfectants safe?

Youtube is awash with how to disinfect surfaces and many people have resorted to trying to make their own disinfectants by watching viral do-it-yourself (DIY) videos and YouTube tutorials. But mixing chemicals in the wrong proportion can at best create an ineffective product – and at worst result in poisoning. 

Debunking 6 viral claims about COVID-19 remedies

There’s no dearth of posts on social media platforms claiming to have found the cure for the coronavirus. Here’s one in Hindi that makes not one, but several claims about COVID-19 cures and prevention.