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Hope or hype? In science, it can be easy to confuse the two.

Fortunately, there are hypebusters — experts or insiders willing to puncture the noise and subject scientific claims to objective scrutiny. At the recent STAT Summit in Cambridge, Mass., we convened two doctors who know a thing or two about calling out hype: Dr. Otis Brawley, a professor of oncology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, and Joel Dudley, senior vice president of research at Tempus.

Dudley stressed that narratives around new technologies can have a powerful effect on all of us.


“I used to tell my students … ‘relationships are more powerful than stories, and stories are more powerful than facts,'” Dudley said. “And it was to remind my students, who are all scientists, that facts are among the least persuasive things in the world. Stories are more powerful than facts in terms of your ability to influence people.”

“Once you know that,” he added, “it’s a tool for good and a tool for evil.”


You can watch footage of the entire session below.

With breakthroughs come hype. This panel talks about how to spot unsafe medicines, ineffective treatments and outright fraud. STAT