April 23, 2015

Assessment of medical students' attitudes on social media use in medicine: a cross-sectional study.

Social media is being used extensively by medical students, however, they do not appear aware of possible ethical issues.  (BMC Med Educ. 2015 Feb 15;15(1):18)
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Social media: the key to health information access for 18- to 30-year-old college students.

The Internet and social media appear to be effective health communication channels for 18- to 30-year-old college students. Health educators should consider using social media to present important health information to 18- to 30-year-old college students.  (Comput Inform Nurs. 2015 Apr;33(4):132-41.)
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April 19, 2015

The use of social networking platforms for sexual health promotion: identifying key strategies for successful user engagement.

Among Twitter and Facebook profiles promoting sexual health, the strategies that created the greatest engagement were: a) making regular updates (median 46 posts or 124 tweets per month by the top-ranked profiles); b) individualised interaction with users; and c) encouraging interaction and conversation by posing questions. Uploading multimedia material and highlighting celebrity involvement were also key strategies.  (BMC Public Health. 2015 Feb 6;15(1):85.)
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March 29, 2015

Exploring Twitter to Analyze the Public's Reaction Patterns to Recently Reported Homicides in London.

People are more likely to post a Twitter message about a homicide if the homicide occurred close to home. How widely and fast the homicide was reported in the news also influenced number of Tweets. The presence of a knife, a young victim, or a gang related homicide are predictors of Tweet posting frequency.  (PLoS One. 2015 Mar 26;10(3):e0121848.)
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March 18, 2015

Social Media and Internet Driven Study Recruitment: Evaluating a New Model for Promoting Collaborator Engagement and Participation.

Using social media helps aid research study dissemination and collaborator recruitment. Social media accounted for 18.2% of collaborator registration (Facebook 11.9%, Twitter 4.8%, and YouTube 1.5%).  (PLoS One. 2015 Mar 16;10(3):e0118899.)
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March 5, 2015

Orthodontic marketing through social media networks: The patient and practitioner's perspective.

The most commonly used marketing strategies in orthodontic practices were social media (76%) and a practice website (59%). Facebook was the most preferred social media platform. Social media and practice websites were positively correlated to new patient starts.  (Angle Orthod. 2015 Mar 4)
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February 18, 2015

Navigating the google blind spot: an emerging need for professional guidelines to address patient-targeted googling.

These authors discuss the moral ambiguity of doctors Googling their patients. In emergency situations, there may be a reason to Google patients, but there is the potential to blur professional and personal boundaries.  (J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Jan;30(1):6-7)
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January 28, 2015

Internet Research in Psychology Research Online

Nearly 40% of the world's population is online, resulting in a transformation of the psychological sciences. Psychological research online appears to present great new opportunities by reaching large, diverse samples and collecting data on actual behaviors.
Annu Rev Psychol. 2014 Sep 22;

January 26, 2015

Smartphone Based Wound Assessment

BACKGROUND: Diabetic foot ulcers are a significant health issue.

QUESTION: can the use of an Android app using a smartphone with a high resolution camera help patients assess diabetic ulcer wound healing?

METHODS: the app makes an outline of the foot determined based on skin color, and the wound boundary is found using a simple connected region detection method. Within the wound boundary, the healing status is next assessed based on red-yellow-black color evaluation model. Moreover, the healing status is quantitatively assessed, based on trend analysis of time records for a given patient.

RESULTS: the system appears to efficiently analyze the wound healing status with good accuracy.

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2014 Sep 17;

January 25, 2015

Online Mental Health Treatments

The internet as a mental health advisor in Germany--results of a national survey.
BACKGROUND: The Internet constitutes a popular source of health information. However, the use of the Internet and other modern media in the domain of mental health remains widely unclear.

QUESTION: are people ready to seek mental health information online, and make use of online counseling and media-assisted psychotherapy?

METHODS: A representative survey of  2411 Germans was conducted.

  • Greater than a fourth of Germans surveyed would consider seeking help online in case of mental health problems, primarily by using the Internet to do research and by participating in online forums. 
  • A small number of those surveyed had already used online counseling. 
  • Most did not know about the availability of online counseling. 
  • Willingness to use online counseling in the future was moderate, with most showing a clear preference towards face-to-face treatment. 
CONCLUSION: It is likely that there will be an increasing demand for media-assisted psychological counseling and interventions. The health care system should prepare for this change and enlighten patients concerning the possibilities and potential risks of online mental health treatments.
PLoS One. 2013;8(11):e79206

December 29, 2014

False information on fluoridation dominates the Internet

Community water fluoridation on the Internet and social media.
QUESTION: how accurate is information on the Internet regarding community water fluoridation?

METHODS: website traffic was evaluated. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube activity was categorized as "pro" or "con" regarding community water fluoridation.

 RESULTS: website traffic to the "con" sites was found to exceed "pro" sites by 5 to 60 fold. Searching "fluoride" and "fluoridation" on Facebook resulted in 88% to 100% "con" groups and pages; on Twitter and YouTube the result was 64% "con" tweets and 99% "con" videos. "Cancer, " "useless, " and "poisonous" were the three major arguments used against community water fluoridation.

CONCLUSIONS: false anti-fluoridation information significantly dominates the Internet and social media.

J Mass Dent Soc. 2014;63(2):32-6

November 23, 2014

Portable Internet ECG Recording Systems

QUESTION: Is an Internet-enabled ECG recording system (iECG) useful?

METHODS: 24 individuals with risk of cardiovascular disease were monitored. The subjects sent ECG recordings over the Internet to their physician.

RESULTS: Only 21/24 subjects were able to send their ECG recordings over the Internet. A total of 504 ECG recordings were obtained using the iECG. No adverse cardiovascular events were observed. A survey of the subjects showed a 68% satisfaction rate.

CONCLUSION: The iECG may prove to be a useful tool for monitoring cardiovascular health in workers residing abroad.

J Occup Health. 2014 Sep 17

November 18, 2014

Antibiotic Time-outs

This study was a before and after study. The authors compared antibiotic use before and after a bi-weekly "time out" session during which residents reviewed antibiotic use among their in-patients. Not surprisingly, they found that their intervention worked.

COMMENT: this is a classic case of the Hawthorne Bias. Am surprised at how sloppy this research was, yet got published in a top medical research journal. SHAME ! 

Antibiotic Self-stewardship: Trainee-Led Structured Antibiotic Time-outs to Improve Antimicrobial Use.

October 30, 2014

The 5 Secrets of Healthy Aging

A 35y long study has identified 5 simple ways to increase your chances of healthy aging. Here they are:
  1. eat well
  2. work out
  3. drink less
  4. keep your weight down
  5. never smoke. 

Secret of healthy ageing discovered in ground-breaking 35-year study - Telegraph

October 22, 2014

CDC Making Big Mistake on Ebola Patients

"Hospitals should be prepared to recognize possible cases, isolate them — and then call for help. Period,"

COMMENT: I agree. Rapid isolation and triage is the best strategy.