Navigation Links
Study finds cancer information on Wikipedia is accurate, but not very readable
Date:6/1/2010

(PHILADELPHIA) It is a commonly held that information on Wikipedia should not be trusted, since it is written and edited by non-experts without professional oversight. But researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have found differently, according to data being presented at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. (Abstract #6058)

Reassuringly, they found that cancer information found on a wiki was actually similar in accuracy and depth to the information on a peer-reviewed, patient-oriented cancer web site. There is one caveat, however: they found that the information on the peer-reviewed site was written in plainer English.

Researchers lead by Yaacov Lawrence M.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, compared the cancer information found on Wikipedia with the information found on the patient-oriented section of the National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query (PDQ), a comprehensive peer-reviewed cancer database.

"There are a vast number of web sites where patients can obtain cancer information," Dr. Lawrence said. "The purpose of this study was to answer one question: Is the cancer information on Wikipedia correct? Reassuringly, we found that errors were extremely rare on Wikipedia. But the way information was presented on PDQ is more patient-friendly."

Dr. Lawrence and his colleague Malolan Rajagopalan, a medical student from the University of Pittsburgh, started by choosing ten cancer types and selecting key factual statements for each cancer from standard oncology textbooks. The material covered epidemiology, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and controversial topics in cancer care.

Medical student volunteers examined the PDQ and Wikipedia articles against the prepared statements. The web pages were printed out to ensure that each individual looked at the same version of the articles. Standard algorithms were used to calculate readability based upon word and sentence length.

For both web sites, inaccuracies were extremely rare: less than two percent of the information on either site was discordant with that presented in the textbooks. There was no difference between the sites in depth of coverage. Both sites poorly discussed controversial aspects of cancer care. But the PDQ site was notably more readable: whereas PDQ was written at a level suitable for a 9th grader, Wikipedia was written at a level suitable for a college student. This difference was highly statistically significant.

"PDQ's readability is doubtless due to the site's professional editing, whereas Wikipedia's lack of readability may reflect its varied origins and haphazard editing," Dr. Lawrence said. "Overall our results are reassuring: on the one hand Wikipedia appears to be extremely accurate, on the other, the resources invested in the creation and upkeep of the PDQ are clearly justified."

The next step is to repeat the study with cancer patients to truly determine how this difference in readability impacts upon patients' understanding and retention of information, Dr. Lawrence said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Emily Shafer
emily.shafer@jefferson.edu
215-955-6300
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Casual Sex Doesnt Cause Emotional Damage: Study
2. Study Finds Possible Explanation for the Link Between Infertility and Breast/Ovarian Cancer Risks
3. Screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Not Cost-Effective: Study
4. New study finds possible source of beta cell destruction that leads to Type 1 diabetes
5. New Study Demonstrates Novel Use of Metabolic Imaging to Locate Sperm in Infertile Men -- Non-Invasive Imaging Procedure May Replace Invasive Techniques such as Testicula
6. Risk of stroke lower for recent Ontario immigrants: study
7. Definitive study confirms chemo benefit in postmenopausal breast cancer
8. Experimental stem cell treatment arrests acute lung injury in mice, study shows
9. Violence is part of the job say nurses as study shows only 1 in 6 incidents are reported
10. Controversial Autism Study Retracted by Medical Journal
11. Study Reveals Impact Of Health Insurance On Hispanics' Attitudes Towards Healthcare Providers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... West’s Health Advocate Solutions, the ... of webinars will start January 31 with a session about understanding healthcare ROI. ... and benefits topics, including employee engagement, pricing transparency, population health and wellness, and ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... Bellus Medical, a leader in ... medical experts. In his new role Dr. Dobke will provide physician oversight for in-house ... is the Head of Plastic Surgery and Associate Professor of Surgery at UC San ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... Providing solutions to critical ... from the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the ... policy makers identified concrete solutions at the “What’s Next, America?” conference at the ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... The results from the American Cancer Society’s ... for prostate cancer patients: incidents of cancer is down as is the likelihood of ... death rate has dropped from its peak of 215.1 in 1991 to 161.2 in ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... American Family Care (AFC) has opened a ... health care for residents in the area. The Bedford clinic will be the nineteenth ... four years by Dave Adams and Dr. Kristina Orio. Adams and Orio also independently ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/24/2017)... Market Research Future has a half cooked research report ... for Plastic Surgery & Integumentary System is growing rapidly and expected ... period. Market Highlights ... Global Plastic Surgery & Integumentary System Market has been ... will reach high growth figures and thriving in the coming future. ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... , Jan 24, 2017 Research and ... Market Analysis and Trends - Product, Material - Forecast to 2025" ... ... to grow at a CAGR of around 5.4% over the next ... of the prominent trends that the market is witnessing include 3D ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... , January 24, 2017 ... held a whopping share of 91.6% in the global ... Pharma, and Qualipcaps have been leading the overall market ... an experience and expertise in handling sophisticated designs and ... expected to focus on research and development to deliver ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: