Study: Most Health Info on Wikipedia Inaccurate

By Joe Gullo

Published 05/28 2014 10:19AM

Updated 05/28 2014 10:21AM

If you have a question about your health, do you use Wikipedia? The crowd-sourced encyclopedia is a popular tool for some students and others for a quick answer to a question but new research says you may want to avoid the world of Wikipedia when it comes to your health.

A lot of us are probably guilty of this at one time or another -- having a medical condition or sickness and instead of going to the doctor, we hop online to look up what we think it is. It turns out that this may not be the best thing to do and a new study says this is especially true if you use Wikipedia.

The study, just published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, tested the reliability of the crowd-sourced entries on the Wikipedia page.

Researchers looked at the ten most costly medical conditions in the country, like lung cancer, back pain and osteoarthritis.

They found the Wikipedia entries contradict medical research for peer-reviewed journals, a whopping 90 percent of the time. Information on nine out of the ten entries had errors.

But it's not just those of us at home who are using it. The study also found that 47 percent to 70 percent of physicians and medical students use it as a reference.

So, not surprisingly, the researchers conclude caution should be used when using websites, for any medical questions.

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