There is no doubt that science will continue to do what it's supposed to do - change as it advances.
And there is also no doubt that science/medical recommendations will change as this occurs.
However, there is no doubt that only a very small number of people have the science literacy required to understand and come to a comfortably informed decision about the new mammography guidelines.
In our book, Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action ( Jossey Bass, 2006), we proposed a new ecological model of health literacy where science literacy is one of the critical 4 domains of health literacy:
- · familiarity with fundamental scientific concepts, scientific process
- · some understanding of technology & technical complexity, and
- understanding of scientific uncertainty and that rapid change in the accepted science is possible and likely.
Given that less than 20% of the adults in the US are scientifically literate (NSF, Public Understanding of Science, http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind93/chap7/doc/7d1a93.htm), how likely is it that this new recommendation is going to be accessible and understood?