How reliable is medical information on the internet? Today on A Moment of Science, we'll discuss checking medical facts on the internet. Over the past year, there have been 60 million Americans who've used the Internet to track down medical information. But just exactly how accurate is all that information?
A recent study shows that accurate medical information on the Internet is hard to find. The thing people seem to forget is that the Internet is just a tool for transmitting information. Search engines aren't smart and don't check their data for accuracy. When you go to an Internet search engine and type in something like obesity, less than a quarter of the initial links will lead you to relevant content. Plus, the information you do find tends to be inconsistent and hard to understand.
If you're looking for reliable medical information, a good place to start are the web sites set up by the National Institutes of Health or by the Foundation or Association devoted to the disease you're researching. For example the American Cancer Society or the Muscular Dystrophy Association are great resources.