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Medical Misinformation Can Spread Quickly Via 'Tweets'
Date:4/2/2010

ng to the study.

Although Twitter and other social networks certainly increase the chances of incorrect information to spread far and wide, some good may yet come of it, said Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California.

Doctors and public health officials can also use the Internet to correct those mistakes by disseminating the right information.

"People have always talked to each other and misinformed each other about medicine," Gilbert said. "Now, because of Twitter and other social networks, we can listen in on those conversations. Health authorities can and should be monitoring Twitter to see what people are saying about these things, and correct things, particularly if it's dangerous."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has a tutorial on evaluating health information found on the Internet.



SOURCES: Daniel Scanfeld, doctoral student, computational biology, Columbia University, New York City; Bradford Hesse, Ph.D., chief, Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch, U.S. National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Michael Gilbert, senior fellow, Center for the Digital Future, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; April 2010, American Journal of Infection Control


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