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ONLINE HEALTH INFORMATION-SEEKING: THE CASE OF DEEP BRAIN STIMULATION IN SOCIAL MEDIA

Julie M. Robillard, Emanuel Cabral, Tanya L. Feng

Care Weekly 2018;2:14-20

Background: Online health information-seeking is a common behavior among caregivers. Social media increasingly plays a role as a source of health information, including for novel or emerging treatments such as deep-brain stimulation. Objectives: To examine health information-seeking related to deep brain stimulation. Design: Content analysis was applied to questions and answers related to deep brain stimulation posted online. Setting: Content was captured from the website Yahoo! Answers between 2006 and 2015. Participants: No participants were recruited for this study. The analysis was conducted on freely-accessible publicly posted content in online social media. Results: Most discussions involved information-seeking and -sharing about a disease, treatment, or the procedure for deep brain stimulation. Nearly half of the questions featured some emotional valence, most often negative. Only a minority of questions and answers mentioned risks associated with deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation was most discussed in the context of age-associated movement disorders such as Parkinson disease. Evaluations of the benefits and efficacy of deep brain stimulation for movement disorders differed significantly from evaluations of its use for mental health disorders (X2 [6, N = 432] = 28.46, p < 0.01). Conclusions: With the increasing use of deep brain stimulation and its expanding application to a variety of age-associated neurological and psychiatric conditions, it is crucial to understand information-seeking trends related to this emerging neurotechnology to inform the development of knowledge dissemination initiatives for the public, patient and caregivers, and heath care providers.

CITATION:
Julie M. Robillard ; Emanuel Cabral ; Tanya L. Feng (2018): Online Health Information-Seeking: The Case of Deep Brain Stimulation in Social Media. Care Weekly. http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/cw.2018.8

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