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Inserm Publishes Book on Fake News Making Rigorous and Credible Health Information Accessible to All

28 Sep 2021 | By Inserm (Newsroom) | Covid-19 | Institutional and special event

chocolat et santé

Is dark chocolate better for you than milk chocolate? Inserm tackles fake news and preconceived ideas in its new book. © JP Courbatze


As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis continue to make themselves felt, how do we answer the many health questions raised by citizens and make space for scientific information that is useful in everyday life? More motivated than ever to provide robust scientific information to all, Inserm has joined forces with publisher Le Cherche-Midi to deconstruct fake news and preconceived ideas regarding our health.

They say that fasting is effective against cancer, that IUDs make you sterile, that HIV is transmitted by mosquito bites… While health misinformation is nothing new, the growing number of communication channels and the rise of social media have given it space to flourish.

We have all seen that the health crisis has been the focus of violent controversy, showcasing individual voices sometimes to the detriment of collective scientific discourse.

This is an issue that Inserm has been fighting since 2018, when it began to publish its series of Canal Détox videos. The aim of these educational scientific videos is to establish reliable scientific information on health topics that are of concern to citizens. With COVID-19, the initiative now includes the publication of informative texts in rapid response to misinformation that has gone viral, continuing to draw on the rigorous and measured scientific discourse of Inserm directors and researchers.

In order to intensify efforts to open up science to as many people as possible, Inserm has joined forces with publisher Le Cherche-Midi to roll out its Canal Détox label in book form. Taking an educational and thematic approach, the collection dissects nearly 80 pieces of health misinformation. COVID (of course!), as well as diet, cancer, mental health, HIV… It uses the latest scientific data and the expertise of Inserm researchers to shatter many preconceived ideas.

“At a time when the health crisis has revealed the need for every citizen to be informed and be able to make informed decisions to protect their health, Inserm’s ‘Science for Health’ motto has never been more relevant. This book illustrates our desire to continue to make Inserm a reference for dialogue with society and make biomedical science accessible to as many people as possible,” emphasizes Dr. Gilles Bloch, CEO of Inserm.

Available in French bookstores from September 30 and written for a general readership, this book maintains the modern, everyday angle and tone of the Canal Détox videos and addresses the most serious and complex scientific issues. In addition to providing responses to the readers’ health questions, its intention is also to share with them the methods of the rigorous, ethical and transparent scientific approach at work in Inserm’s 300 laboratories.

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