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Another bad morning health story on Good Morning America

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Last week, ABC aired a story looking at the potential for “harnessing the curative effects (of human breast milk) to fight terminal cancer.” Excerpt from HealthNewsReview.org:

The segment:

* failed to adequately document any evidence of the benefits of this approach in adults;

* failed to explain that breast milk has been shown to transmit viruses such HIV, hepatitis, and meningitis – an important point when discussing its use in immunosuppressed cancer patients who are especially vulnerable to infection;

* failed to include interviews with any oncologists, gastroenterologists, immunologists or lactation specialists.

It was described as “a highly alternative treatment.” What does that mean?

What did any of this mean to viewers? It went from saying there was “promising research that would indicate that in the future, the solutions for not only preventing cancer, but even treating and curing cancer might be within human milk” – to saying “there’s no research that says…human breast milk will benefit a man, such as this man suffering from cancer.”

Yet the network gave lots of airtime to the suggestion of potential benefits.

Such a “yes it can, no it can’t” use of network TV airtime is not a public service.

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