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Listen carefully to what is said. After the lecture do a random check on some the evidence presented to sustain a view. Honest lecturers should represent evidence fairly, only giving their opinion at the end (very much like an original paper). If you think the lecturer is twisting the evidence to suit his purpose, challenge him. Either way, be wary of the lecturer in future. Beware of amateurs who clearly have not rehearsed their presentations or who use their position and prestige to ram home a message. Here too, beware of immaculate presentations, especially if they have lots of special effects (sound, music, film clips, logos etc). Big pharma has taken to providing speakers at ‘key’ conferences with ready-made presentations. Quality is very high. The message is commercial.commercial.
Use the same technique as assessing a website.
Although not as powerful as a website or the written word in a high-circulation journal, the personal touch of a lecture is likely to stay with you for a long time, if not for life.
This is the seventh in a series of articles on making evidence-based medicine work for you. The series is based on the book ‘Attenti Alle Bufale’ by Tom Jefferson (www.attentiallebufale.it)