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Home Tech Visit Your Doctor Not Wikipedia, Advices Scientists

Visit Your Doctor Not Wikipedia, Advices Scientists

by Caroline Vutagwa
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Scientist in the US, in a study, have compared the medical fact of Wikipedia,online encyclopedia and what they have said that it contains errors in nine out of ten of its health entries, like heart disease, lung disease, lung cancer depression and diabetes, and should be treated with caution.

The researchers advice that people should get information from their doctors or and other qualified healthcare providers

“From a public health standpoint, patients should not use [Wikipedia] as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals” says Dr Robert Hasty Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, North Carolina

“Wikipedia is a charity, and has 30 million articles in 285 languages. It can be edited by anybody, but many volunteers from the medical profession check the pages for inaccuracies,” said Wikimedia UK.

The open-access nature has “raised concern” among doctors about its reliability as up to 70 percent of physicians and medical students use the tool.

The 10 researchers across America looked at online articles for 10 of the “most costly” conditions in the US, including osteoarthritis, back problems and asthma.

They analyzed them on 25 April 2012 and discovered that 90 percent of the entries made statements that contradicted latest medical research.

“Wikipedia, like any encyclopaedia, should not take the place of a qualified medical practitioner,” Stevie Benton Wikimedia UK.

Stevie Benton, at Wikimedia UK, said there were a “number of initiatives” in place to help improve the articles, “especially in relation to health and medicine”.

He said the charity had a project to bring together volunteer Wikipedia editors with a medical knowledge to identify articles that need improvement, find credible sources and make entries more “accurate and more readable”.

Benton said Wikipedia was also working with Cancer Research UK to review cancer-related articles by clinical researchers and writers to keep them accurate and up-to-date.

But he added: “However, it is crucial that anybody with concerns over their health contacts their GP as a first point of call. Wikipedia, like any encyclopaedia, should not take the place of a qualified medical practitioner.”

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