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Can reporters raise health literacy in the community?

In a panel about health literacy at Health Journalism 2010, panelists looked at how journalists might communicate about health and medicine better. One speaker said that making complex scientific information understandable takes work, but studies show that even highly educated people prefer simple and "clean" language. Another suggested that journalists use summaries in articles, "what you need to do" points, and direct patients to useful web resources. A third expert said that full financial disclosure by researchers and limiting reporting to prospective, double-blind studies would be steps toward improving the quality of medical reporting.

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