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:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media ... Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice ... X users can now reveal the media of their split screens with growing ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently ... of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada ... become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to ... Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to ... fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. ... his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in ... to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay ... Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne ... Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of ... Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the ... Tests" report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the ... analysis in the report includes the following: ... Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: