Don’t trust Wikipedia for health-related information

by Annalisa Lista - 2014.05.27

Don't trust Wikipedia for health information because it can be very dangerous. It has been demonstrated by a team of doctors in an article published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Analyzing the entries for ten common diseases in the US (namely coronary artery disease, lung cancer, depressive disorders, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, hypertension, diabetes, back pain, hyperlipidemia and trauma-related disorders) and comparing them with standard peer-reviewed sources, they found that in nine cases out of ten, articles contain factual mistakes. In particular, big discordances were found for diabetes, osteoarthritis, pulmonary diseases and depression. Except for trauma-related disorders, i.e. concussions. This website today contains 31 million entries in 285 languages, mostly health-related, and its main feature is that everyone can write, add, delete and modify articles. That is why it can be a dangerous source of information. Research has proven it has become a source of health care information for 47% of physicians and 70% medical students.

Published in Health in numbers.
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