April 30, 2014

"I will take a shot for every 'like' I get on this status": posting alcohol-related facebook content is linked to drinking outcomes.

"I will take a shot for every 'like' I get on this status": posting alcohol-related facebook content is linked to drinking outcomes.
J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2014 May;75(3):390-8
Authors: Westgate EC, Neighbors C, Heppner H, Jahn S, Lindgren KP

ABSTRACT. Objective: This study investigated whether self-reports of alcohol-related postings on Facebook by oneself or one's Facebook friends were related to common motives for drinking and were uniquely predictive of self-reported alcohol outcomes (alcohol consumption, problems, and cravings). Method: Pacific Northwest undergraduates completed a survey of alcohol outcomes, drinking motives, and alcohol related Facebook postings. Participants completed the survey online as part of a larger study on alcohol use and cognitive associations. Participants were randomly selected through the university registrar's office and consisted of 1,106 undergraduates (449 men, 654 women, 2 transgender, 1 declined to answer) between the ages of 18 and 25 years (M = 20.40, SD = 1.60) at a large university in the Pacific Northwest. Seven participants were excluded from analyses because of missing or suspect data. Results: Alcohol-related postings on Facebook were significantly correlated with social, enhancement, conformity, and coping motives for drinking (all ps < .001). After drinking motives were controlled for, self-alcohol-related postings independently and positively predicted the number of drinks per week, alcohol-related problems, risk of alcohol use disorders, and alcohol cravings (all ps < .001). In contrast, friends' alcohol-related postings only predicted the risk of alcohol use disorders (p < .05) and marginally predicted alcohol-related problems (p = .07). Conclusions: Posting alcohol-related content on social media platforms such as Facebook is associated with common motivations for drinking and is, in itself, a strong predictive indicator of drinking outcomes independent of drinking motives. Moreover, self-related posting activity appears to be more predictive than Facebook friends' activity. These findings suggest that social media platforms may be a useful target for future preventative and intervention efforts. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 75, 390-398, 2014).

Read More

March 21, 2014

Suicide on facebook.

Current suicide assessment relies primarily on the patient's oral history. This article describes the case of a patient who was hospitalized after making an impulsive suicide attempt. Subsequently, social media was used to identify the events leading up to the attempt and to reconstruct a timeline. This evidence helped the patient gain more insight into the severity of his condition and agree to participate in treatment. Facebook and other social media may prove to be helpful adjuncts to suicide prevention efforts both in treatment and in screening for high-risk individuals who may not voluntarily come to clinical attention. J Psychiatr Pract. 2014 Mar;20(2):141-6

March 18, 2014

Using twitter to examine smoking behavior and perceptions of emerging tobacco products.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a content and sentiment analysis of tobacco-related Twitter posts and build machine learning classifiers to detect tobacco-relevant posts and sentiment towards tobacco, with a particular focus on new and emerging products like hookah and electronic cigarettes.

METHODS: We collected 7362 tobacco-related Twitter posts at 15-day intervals from December 2011 to July 2012.

RESULTS: Sentiment toward tobacco was overall more positive (1939/4215, 46% of tweets) than negative (1349/4215, 32%) or neutral among tweets mentioning it, even excluding the 9% of tweets categorized as marketing.

CONCLUSIONS: Novel insights available through Twitter for tobacco surveillance are attested through the high prevalence of positive sentiment.

J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e174

March 15, 2014

The impact of social media on medical professionalism: a systematic qualitative review of challenges and opportunities.

BACKGROUND: The rising impact of social media on the private and working lives of health care professionals has made researchers and health care institutions study and rethink the concept and content of medical professionalism in the digital age. In the last decade, several specific policies, original research studies, and comments have been published on the responsible use of social media by health care professionals.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this systematic qualitative review is to present this full spectrum of social media-related challenges and opportunities.

METHODS: We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed (restricted to English and German literature published between 2002 and 2011) for papers that address social media-related challenges and opportunities for medical professionalism. To operationalize "medical professionalism", we refer to the 10 commitments presented in the physicians' charter "Medical professionalism in the new millennium" published by the ABIM Foundation. We applied qualitative text analysis to categorize the spectrum of social media-related challenges and opportunities for medical professionalism.
RESULTS: All references together mentioned a spectrum of 23 broad and 12 further-specified, narrow categories for social media-related opportunities (n=10) and challenges (n=13)

CONCLUSIONS: This review builds a unique source of information that can inform further research and policy development in this regard.

J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e184

March 13, 2014

Retrieving clinical evidence: a comparison of PubMed and Google Scholar for quick clinical searches.

Retrieving clinical evidence: a comparison of PubMed and Google Scholar for quick clinical searches.

Authors: Shariff SZ, Bejaimal SA, Sontrop JM, Iansavichus AV, Haynes RB, Weir MA, Garg AX

BACKGROUND: Physicians frequently search PubMed for information to guide patient care. More recently, Google Scholar has gained popularity as another freely accessible bibliographic database.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the performance of searches in PubMed and Google Scholar.

METHODS: We surveyed nephrologists (kidney specialists) and provided each with a unique clinical question derived from 100 renal therapy systematic reviews. Each physician provided the search terms they would type into a bibliographic database to locate evidence to answer the clinical question. We executed each of these searches in PubMed and Google Scholar and compared results for the first 40 records retrieved (equivalent to 2 default search pages in PubMed). We evaluated the recall (proportion of relevant articles found) and precision (ratio of relevant to nonrelevant articles) of the searches performed in PubMed and Google Scholar. Primary studies included in the systematic reviews served as the reference standard for relevant articles. We further documented whether relevant articles were available as free full-texts.

RESULTS: Compared with PubMed, the average search in Google Scholar retrieved twice as many relevant articles (PubMed: 11%; Google Scholar: 22%; P<.001). Precision was similar in both databases (PubMed: 6%; Google Scholar: 8%; P=.07). Google Scholar provided significantly greater access to free full-text publications (PubMed: 5%; Google Scholar: 14%; P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: For quick clinical searches, Google Scholar returns twice as many relevant articles as PubMed and provides greater access to free full-text articles.

J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e164

March 12, 2014

Social media release increases dissemination of original articles in the clinical pain sciences.

A barrier to dissemination of research is that it depends on the end-user searching for or 'pulling' relevant knowledge from the literature base. Social media instead 'pushes' relevant knowledge straight to the end-user, via blogs and sites such as Facebook and Twitter. That social media is very effective at improving dissemination seems well accepted, but, remarkably, there is no evidence to support this claim. We aimed to quantify the impact of social media release on views and downloads of articles in the clinical pain sciences. Sixteen PLOS ONE articles were blogged and released via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and ResearchBlogging.org on one of two randomly selected dates. The other date served as a control. The primary outcomes were the rate of HTML views and PDF downloads of the article, over a seven-day period. The critical result was an increase in both outcome variables in the week after the blog post and social media release. The mean ± SD rate of HTML views in the week after the social media release was 18±18 per day, whereas the rate during the other three weeks was no more than 6±3 per day. The mean ± SD rate of PDF downloads in the week after the social media release was 4±4 per day, whereas the rate during the other three weeks was less than 1±1 per day (p<0.05 for all comparisons). However, none of the recognized measures of social media reach, engagement or virality related to either outcome variable, nor to citation count one year later (p>0.3 for all). We conclude that social media release of a research article in the clinical pain sciences increases the number of people who view or download that article, but conventional social media metrics are unrelated to the effect.

PLoS One. 2013;8(7):e68914

March 10, 2014

The social (media) side to rheumatology.

The social (media) side to rheumatology.
Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2014 Mar 4;
Authors: Berenbaum F

A revolution is underway in the fields of education and health practice. Social media are now considered by the new generations of students, doctors and patients as a useful tool for learning and for doctor-doctor, doctor-patient and patient-patient communications. However, should we be excited by this revolution or afraid of it? Advantages and challenges of such new tools for medicine in general and rheumatology in particular are discussed in this Perspectives.

Read More

Facebook partner notification in syphilis

Facebook-augmented partner notification in a cluster of syphilis cases in Milwaukee.
Public Health Rep. 2014 Jan-Feb;129 Suppl 1:43-9
Authors: Hunter P, Oyervides O, Grande KM, Prater D, Vann V, Reitl I, Biedrzycki PA

Public health professionals face many challenges in infectious disease cluster case identification and partner notification (PN), especially in populations using social media as a primary communication venue. We present a method using Facebook and social network diagram illustration to identify, link, and notify individuals in a cluster of syphilis cases in young black men who have sex with men (MSM). Use of Facebook was crucial in identifying two of 55 individuals with syphilis, and the cooperation of socially connected individuals with traditional PN methods yielded a high number of contacts per case. Integration of PN services for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as collaboration between the city and state information systems, assisted in the cluster investigation. Given that rates of syphilis and HIV infection are increasing significantly in young African American MSM, the use of social media can provide an additional avenue to facilitate case identification and notification.

Read More

March 9, 2014

A Mixed-Methods Study of Young Adults' Receptivity to Using Facebook for Smoking Cessation: If You Build It, Will They Come?

A Mixed-Methods Study of Young Adults' Receptivity to Using Facebook for Smoking Cessation: If You Build It, Will They Come?
Am J Health Promot. 2014 Feb 27;
Authors: Ramo DE, Liu H, Prochaska JJ

Purpose . To determine whether young adults are interested in a Facebook intervention for smoking cessation and to inform the design of such an intervention. Design . Mixed-methods. Setting . Participants throughout the United States were recruited through Facebook. Participants . Young adults aged 18 to 25 years who had smoked at least once in the past month. Method . Participants (N = 570) completed an online survey of tobacco and social media use. A subset of 30 survey completers, stratified by motivation to quit smoking, agreed to participate in a structured interview over online chat. Themes were identified by using grounded theory. Results . Approximately a third of the full sample (31%) reported they would want to get help to quit smoking by using Facebook. Interest in using Facebook to quit was greater among those who were more motivated to quit (χ(2) = 75.2, p < .001), had made a quit attempt in the past year (χ(2) = 16.0, p < .001), and had previously used the Internet for assistance with a quit attempt (χ(2) = 6.2, p = .013). In qualitative interviews, social support and convenience were identified as strengths of a Facebook intervention, while privacy was the main issue of concern. Conclusion . Nearly one in three young adult smokers on Facebook expressed interest in using Facebook for quitting smoking. Social media approaches that respect privacy and tailor to readiness to quit are likely to maximize participation.

Read More

March 7, 2014

Evaluation of internet-based dengue query data: google dengue trends.

Evaluation of internet-based dengue query data: google dengue trends.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014 Feb;8(2):e2713
Authors: Gluskin RT, Johansson MA, Santillana M, Brownstein JS

Dengue is a common and growing problem worldwide, with an estimated 70-140 million cases per year. Traditional, healthcare-based, government-implemented dengue surveillance is resource intensive and slow. As global Internet use has increased, novel, Internet-based disease monitoring tools have emerged. Google Dengue Trends (GDT) uses near real-time search query data to create an index of dengue incidence that is a linear proxy for traditional surveillance. Studies have shown that GDT correlates highly with dengue incidence in multiple countries on a large spatial scale. This study addresses the heterogeneity of GDT at smaller spatial scales, assessing its accuracy at the state-level in Mexico and identifying factors that are associated with its accuracy. We used Pearson correlation to estimate the association between GDT and traditional dengue surveillance data for Mexico at the national level and for 17 Mexican states. Nationally, GDT captured approximately 83% of the variability in reported cases over the 9 study years. The correlation between GDT and reported cases varied from state to state, capturing anywhere from 1% of the variability in Baja California to 88% in Chiapas, with higher accuracy in states with higher dengue average annual incidence. A model including annual average maximum temperature, precipitation, and their interaction accounted for 81% of the variability in GDT accuracy between states. This climate model was the best indicator of GDT accuracy, suggesting that GDT works best in areas with intense transmission, particularly where local climate is well suited for transmission. Internet accessibility (average ∼36%) did not appear to affect GDT accuracy. While GDT seems to be a less robust indicator of local transmission in areas of low incidence and unfavorable climate, it may indicate cases among travelers in those areas. Identifying the strengths and limitations of novel surveillance is critical for these types of data to be used to make public health decisions and forecas! ting models.

Read More

March 6, 2014

Medical student views on the use of Facebook profile screening by residency admissions committees.

Medical student views on the use of Facebook profile screening by residency admissions committees.
Postgrad Med J. 2014 Feb 27;
Authors: George DR, Green MJ, Navarro AM, Stazyk KK, Clark MA

PURPOSE: Previous research has shown that >50% of residency programmes indicate that inappropriate Facebook postings could be grounds for rejecting a student applicant. This study sought to understand medical students' views regarding the impact of their Facebook postings on the residency admissions process.
STUDY DESIGN: In 2011-2012, we conducted a national survey of 7144 randomly selected medical students representing 10% of current enrollees in US medical schools. Students were presented with a hypothetical scenario of a residency admissions committee searching Facebook and finding inappropriate pictures of a student, and were asked how the committee ought to regard these pictures.
RESULTS: The response rate was 30% (2109/7144). Respondents did not differ from medical students nationally with regard to type of medical school and regional representation. Of the three options provided, the majority of respondents (63.5%) indicated 'the pictures should be considered along with other factors, but should not be grounds for automatic rejection of the application'. A third (33.7%) believed 'the pictures should have no bearing on my application; the pictures are irrelevant'. A small minority of respondents (2.8%) felt 'the pictures should be grounds for automatic rejection of the application'.
CONCLUSIONS: That the views of students regarding the consequences of their online activity differ so greatly from the views of residency admissions committees speaks to the need for better communication between these parties. It also presents opportunities for medical schools to help students in their residency application process by increasing awareness of social media screening strategies used by some residency programmes, and fostering self-awareness around the use of social media during medical school and especially during the residency application process.

Read More

March 5, 2014

The Dramatic Rise of Social Media in Urology: Trends in Twitter Use at the American and Canadian Urological Association Annual Meetings in 2012 and 2013.

The Dramatic Rise of Social Media in Urology: Trends in Twitter Use at the American and Canadian Urological Association Annual Meetings in 2012 and 2013.
J Urol. 2014 Feb 24;
Authors: Matta R, Doiron C, Leveridge MJ

PURPOSE: Social media have become established as tools for rapid information dissemination to a broad audience. A major use has been the compilation of conference-specific messaging, known as 'tweets', via pre-selected 'hashtags' on Twitter. We analyzed Twitter use between consecutive years at the annual meetings of the American (AUA) and Canadian Urological Association (CUA) annual meetings.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Publicly available tweets containing the established meeting hashtags were abstracted from an online archive. Tweets were categorized by author type and categorized by content as either informative (based on research presented at the conference) or uninformative (unrelated to presented data) based on an established classification scheme.
RESULTS: We analyzed 5402 tweets over the combined 18 meeting days, of which 4098 were original and 1304 were rebroadcasted prior tweets. There was a large increase in Twitter use at the 2013 annual meetings (4591 tweets from 540 accounts) over the 2012 meetings (811 tweets from 134 accounts). Biotechnology analysts published the highest volume of tweets (226; 28%) in 2012; this majority shifted to urologists in 2013 (2765 tweets; 60%). In 2012, 29% were categorized as informative; this proportion increased to 41% at the 2013 meetings.
CONCLUSIONS: Twitter has emerged as a significant communication platform at urological meetings, and its use increased dramatically between 2012 and 2013. Urologists have increasingly led this discussion with an increased focus on data arising from meeting proceedings. This adjunct to traditional meeting activity merits the attention of urologists and of the professional associations that host such meetings.

Read More