The “Mail online” recently trumpeted what physicians have been lamenting since the beginning of the Internet age: the web is not necessarily reliable for medical information. Call it a validation of sorts, courtesy of Dr. Robert Hasty of Campbell University in North Carolina colleagues.
The team concluded that many entries in Wikipedia, especially medical entries, contain false information. The message? Don’t use Wikipedia in place of your doctor.
The team published its study titled “Wikipedia vs Peer-Reviewed Medical Literature for Information About the 10 Most Costly Medical Conditions” in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, calling the information published in 20,000-plus medical related Wikipedia entries into question.
According to the report, researchers identified the “10 costliest conditions in terms of public and private expenditure”—which included diabetes, back pain, lung cancer and major depressive disorder—and compared the content of Wikipedia articles about those conditions to peer-reviewed medical literature. Two randomly assigned investigators found that 90% of the articles contained false information, which could affect the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Also from the Post, “Pew research suggests that 72 percent of Internet users have looked up health information online in the last year. False information on Wikipedia accounts — like a edited information about the side effects of a medication or false information about the benefits of one course of treatment over another — could encourage some patients to push their doctors toward prescribing a certain drug or treatment.”
Source: Mail Online