Given how prevalent social media is nowadays, it's not surprising that some have used it for public health purposes. However, the capabilities reach far beyond raising awareness about health issues. Novel applications of social media that have impacted public health include emergency response and epidemic tracking.
Nonetheless, as easy as it might be to disseminate good information, there is little that can be done to screen for inaccuracies. And, unfortunately, some of these inaccuracies can lead to adverse health and financial outcomes.
Here's a look at major public health initiatives in which social media is making an impact.
1. Flu tracking through social media Studies have shown that social media can be used to accurately estimate flu prevalence when compared to the CDC-ILINet (Influenza-like Illness Network) tracking system. University of Pennsylvania researchers also detailed in aNew England Journal of Medicine(NEJM) article that after tweeting the location where flu vaccines were offered, the VA Health Department noted a surge in vaccinations. Similarly, when public figures like Barbadian singer Rihanna tweeted about the flu, searches for "flu" spiked.
Researchers also looked into sentiment toward the 2009 H1N1/09 vaccine. Of 470,000 tweets collected, 318,000 were relevant, 256,000 were of neutral opinion, 35,000 were positive, and 26,000 were negative. They demonstrated that for those who had positive or negative sentiments, information spread in a manner that geographically clustered. As a result, some communities were at risk for diminished herd immunity. Identification of such pockets could allow resources to be targeted to these areas.
One study looked at misconceptions about the flu and antibiotics by searching keywords: 345 status updates reaching 175,000 followers used "flu" and "antibiotics" incorrectly together and 305 status updates reaching 850,000 followers used "cold" and "antibiotics" incorrectly together. Misuse of "leftover" or "shared" antibiotics were also examined.
2. Promoting behavior through social media Patients, advocacy groups and companies alike have used social media to deliver certain messages to the public. The Dove "Evolution" campaign went viral and helped bring to light how magazine covers and advertisements place an unrealistic standard on beauty. As expected, other groups have used social media to educate and raise awareness about a wide variety of health issues from breast cancer and healthcare policy to safer sex and smoking cessation.
When people voice their opinions on a public forum, potentially hazardous public health effects may follow. More recently, the anti-vaccination movement promoted by several high-profile public figures caused alarm among public health experts. What's even more worrisome is how these views spread across country borders. One study attributes 26,000 cases of measles in the past year in Europe to social media influence.
3. Emergency response and Ushahidi Ushahidi, meaning "witness" in Swahili, was a social media platform that originated in Mogadishu but was key to emergency response following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Mobile providers in Haiti opened access to the platform, which allowed those reporting emergencies (fires, missing people, contaminated water, infectious diseases, food shortages, theft, roadblocks, floods, etc.) to be linked to help. Further upstream, resource providers were linked the resource suppliers. GPS location also made it easier for relief organizations to reach areas in need. In addition, the technology reportedly helped crowdsource the most detailed roadmap in Haiti to date with 1.4 million edits at the time. The mobile provider Digicel also noted how 630,000 people were displaced out of Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, which helped track a cholera outbreak.
4. Medical Journals on Twitter Several studies have looked at how medical and scientific journals share their content on Twitter. He findings indicate that 3,725 out of 3,812 journals have Twitter accounts, including high-impact publications such asNature,Science,NEJM andThe Lancet. Between 2010 and 2012, 9.4 percent (or 135,000) of 1.4 million journal articles were posted on Twitter.NEJMfor instance tweeted nearly half (48 percent) of their 1,580 papers during that period.
However, popularity on Twitter doesn't seem to necessarily translate to how frequently cited or how scientifically robust the paper is. In fact, popular papers may be more pertinent to current events. The top two most highly-tweeted papers were papers fromPNASrelated to the Fukushima disaster and nuclear contamination. Similarly, journals that tweet more aren't necessarily the most cited either.
5. Social media as a research tool As mentioned earlier, social media content has been used to track flu epidemics and highlight misconceptions about antibiotics. Various researchers are looking into both "primary data" (directly asking the public a question on social media and gathering responses) and "secondary data" (analyzing the content of tweets). As social media becomes more recognized as a source of data, developing metrics will more efficiently and accurately measure its content. Beyond the scientific focus of medicine, linguistic studies are also being conducted to examine how storytelling can be used as a coping mechanism for cancer survivors on social media sites.
The production of scientific knowledge is susceptible to bias at every stage of the process, from what questions are asked by the investigator, to which method is chose to gather data, to which analyses are conducted (e.g., “P-hacking,” wherein the method of statistical analysis and the degrees of freedom are manipulated until they yield statistically significant results) (1). Even after completion of a study, authors sometimes choose not to submit their work for publication because they are not satisfied with the results (i.e., the “file drawer” problem) (1), or they encounter difficulties with getting results published because of reviewer or editorial bias (“publication bias”) (2–4).
Don’t perform stress cardiac imaging or advanced non-invasive imaging in the initial evaluation of patients without cardiac symptoms unless high-risk markers are present.
Asymptomatic, low-risk patients account for up to 45 percent of unnecessary “screening”. Testing should be performed only when the following findings are present: diabetes in patients older than 40-years-old; peripheral arterial disease; or greater than 2 percent yearly risk for coronary heart disease events.
The non-English speaking patient population in the U.S. accounts for an estimated 30 million people. Navigating our health system is challenging enough for native speakers, but what about for those for whom English isn’t their first language?
Language barriers have been demonstrated to lead to a number of adverse health outcomes including:
Decreased patient satisfactionLack of preventive health servicesRepeat visits to the emergency roomLonger hospital staysNon-compliance with treatmentIncreased number and severity of medical errorsHowever, digital technology has opened an entirely new frontier for addressing communication problems. eCaring is one of the first health care technology companies to address the issue head on. Our copyrighted icon-based language was designed in mind for people with limited technology skill and for whom English may not be a first language. Our home care monitoring interface allows home care aides and patients, regardless of English literacy, to capture huge amounts of information about the real-time care and condition of patient’s at home, including clinical, behavioral measures as well as medication adherence information.MedCity News shares more about how eCaring’s unique icon-based program is breaking down language barriers in home health care, here.
Interpretation: The ownership of household devices increased the likelihood of obesity and diabetes, and this was mediated in part by effects on physical activity, sitting time and dietary energy intake. With increasing ownership of household devices in developing countries, societal interventions are needed to mitigate their effects on poor health.
AN insidious trend has developed over this past third of a century. A country that experienced shared growth after World War II began to tear apart, so much so that when the Great Recession hit in late 2007, one could no longer ignore the fissures that had come to define the American economic landscape. How did this “shining city on a hill” become the advanced country with the greatest level of inequality?
These findings provide evidence that MVPA may be the most potent health-enhancing, time-dependent behavior, with additional benefit conferred from light-intensity activities and sleep duration when reallocated from sedentary time.
Vous pensez peut-être que votre ordinateur et les données que vous stockez dedans ne sont pas importantes et nécessitent uniquement une protection de base, c’est à dire, les fonctionnalités déjà intégrées à votre système d’exploitation.
Fifty essential drugs are to be made available to the entire population of India free of charge, the Indian government has announced.
The government argues that the list of 50 drugs will be sufficient to deal with three quarters of most people’s medical needs and will enable it to negotiate pricing deals during procurement and provide more than a third more drugs for the same amount of money. The list includes analgesics, antibiotics, antihypertensives, and antidiabetes drugs.
A bone-density test is a way to measure the strength of your bones. The test, called a DEXA scan, is a kind of X-ray. Many people get a bone-density test every few years. The main reason to have the test is to find and treat serious bone loss, called osteoporosis, and prevent fractures and disability. Most men and women under age 65 probably don’t need the test because ..........
Promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary time in males can be challenging, and interventions tailored specifically for males are limited. Understanding male perceptions of physical activity and sedentary behavior is important to inform development of relevant interventions, especially for males working in an office setting. As part of a larger intervention study to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary time, male university employees aged 35 to 64 years were invited to partake in focus groups to discuss benefits, motivators, and barriers related to physical activity and sedentary time.
The purpose of this review was to summarize findings from epidemiological studies that determined if sedentary behavior was associated with obesity, metabolic risk factors, and cardiorespiratory fitness in children and adolescents. We noted if studies adjusted for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), dietary intakes, and/or sleep duration. Articles were identified through PubMed using the search terms: (sedentary OR sitting OR television) AND (adiposity OR blood pressure OR body mass index OR cardiometabolic OR metabolic risk OR waist circumference). The search was limited to ages 6 to 18 years, humans, and published between January 1, 2008 and September 26, 2012.
Conclusion These analyses confirmed that this workplace intervention successfully modified sitting behaviour as intended (ie, fewer and shorter sitting bouts, with changes occurring throughout the day).