Navigation Links
New study looks at disconnect between medical and lay expertise
Date:6/1/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. The Internet is empowering its users more than ever, but the same technology that allows people access to limitless information has also enabled some to combat scientific or medical authority with their personal experiences.

In a recent study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, Oregon State University sociologist Kristin Barker and graduate student Tasha Galardi looked at the reactions of breast cancer survivors in the wake of the new guidelines published in 2009 by the United States Preventative Service Task Force. Departing from established recommendations, the new guidelines recommend against routine screening mammography for women in their 40s, and suggest that women ages 50 to 74 be screened every other year instead of annually. The guidelines generated media attention and elicited intense anger from breast cancer survivors.

Sampling some of the most popular online breast cancer discussion forums, the researchers found that women used the Internet not only for solidarity and sharing their personal stories, but also to collect their own experiences as a type of evidence to contradict the task force's recommendations. The women were upset because their shared experiences with breast cancer confirmed established wisdom that mammography saves lives, especially theirs.

"We wanted to look at this disconnect between medical and lay expertise, and the outcome in terms of reaction and action from online communities," Barker said.

The researchers did not endorse or reject the task force's recommendations, but instead were more interested in how women used online forums to engage and communicate. One of the repeated messages they saw in the forums was that women used their personal stories to combat scientific findings.

For instance, the report stated that 1,904 women ages 40 to 49 must undergo routine screenings in order to find one person with breast cancer who would benefit from treatment. Studying hundreds of online postings, the researchers found multiple threads of women declaring themselves to the "the one" in 1,904.

For these women, breast cancer is a personal issue, not a statistical abstraction.

"What is more compelling than your own personal experience?" Barker said. "It is not likely that a scientific study can discredit your own experience."

Barker, an associate professor at OSU, also noted that the controversy around the task force guidelines was heightened because they came out just as the debate over national health care was spiraling through the media. In addition, the women's negative reactions to the new guidelines were intensified by their online connection to so many others who shared their breast cancer experience.

"Coming together online and finding a support network can be empowering, especially for women who sometimes feel shut out of the process," Galardi said. "These women have a form of expertise that they feel should be considered by medical experts."

According to Barker, the take-away message of this research is that because of the Internet, medical information continues to become more democratized and this sort of group dynamic found in online forums will have a lot of credibility.

"The public's ability to challenge medical authority means the balance of power is shifting, and will continue to do so," she said. "Public policy officials would be wise to take lay expertise into consideration."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kristin Barker
kristin.barker@oregonstate.edu
541-737-5375
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Despite Treatment, Employees with Depression Generate Higher Absentee Costs, According to Thomson Reuters Study
2. American Council on Exercise (ACE) Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time
3. TV drama can be more persuasive than news program, study finds
4. Study carried out into biological risks of eating reptiles
5. Neuroimaging study may pave way for effective Alzheimers treatments
6. Study finds racial gaps continue in heart disease awareness
7. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
8. First blinded study of venous insufficiency prevalence in MS shows promising results
9. Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
10. People with anxiety disorder less able to regulate response to negative emotions, study shows
11. American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report: Study Finds Racial Gaps Continue in Heart Disease Awareness, Low Knowledge of Heart Attack Warning Signs Among Women
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/2/2016)... CHICAGO (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... comprehensive treatment for eating, mood and anxiety disorders, has rebranded its eating disorder program ... a new residential eating disorder treatment facility on May 16. , To celebrate, ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... The National Resident Matching Program® ... Match® (“the Match”), the system through which U.S. and international medical school students ... positions were placed in the 2016 Match, and 29,572 were filled when the ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... East Los Angeles dentist , ... can visit Dr. Assili to receive any dental extraction treatment for $40 off the ... June 30, 2016. With the lower price, patients can more easily afford extractions to ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... Vegas, NV (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 ... ... Specialty Pharmacy Times, has announced a new Specialty Pharmacy Patient Satisfaction Award that ... determined based on the quarterly results from Zitter Health Insights’ Specialty Pharmacy Patient ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... prescription medications, including anxiolytics, painkillers, antidepressants and cholesterol-lowering drugs, may cause cognitive ... Detox Center —a leading Florida-based drug treatment facility—advises patients to research the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... Leading Economies with Fastest Real GDP Annual Percentage Change, 2015  ... 7.3, , Source: IMF and TechSci Research   ... Brazil , Russia , India , ... the fastest GDP growth during the first decade of the 21 st ... Brazil and Russia , along with policy ...
(Date:5/2/2016)...  While nearly three-quarters of Americans (71%) are aware ... health, only about half report taking any steps to ... a new survey announced today by Hologic (Nasdaq: ... Osteoporosis Month, Hologic is raising awareness of this major ... Americans. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... May 2, 2016 The ... USD 11.1 billion by 2024, according to a ... Major drivers of the sonography market include expanding ... government recommendations for periodic ultrasound screenings of the ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150105/723757 ) High Intensity ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: