Child health advice on
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internet in the hope of finding a good advice for your child''s medical problem
is a waste of time, say UK researchers who claim that medical information on
various sites is unreliable.
The Nottingham-based team scanned search engine Google to find UK-based advice
on five common issues, including breastfeeding and autism.
Archives of Disease in Childhood reported that only about 200 of 500 sites
offered correct information.
According to estimates, 70 percent of UK households have access to the internet,
and the trend of turning to search engines for a second opinion - or even a sole
one - on medical matters is fast gaining momentum, reports
A previous study, which looked at advice for children with a fever, found only
three out of 22 sites visited gave information which matched current "best
The boffins from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust tested this by typing
key words from commonly-asked questions into Google, restricting results to
UK-based sites only.
The five chosen were "MMR autism", "HIV breastfeeding", "mastitis
breastfeeding", "baby sleeping position" and "green vomit".
They found the quality of advice varied significantly, with half the search
results failing to answer the intended question.
"Healthcare professionals should continue to strive to be the main source of
information for patients but we should be aware that most will continue to use
the Internet to gather information," the boffins wrote in the journal.
"We suggest that in addition to verbal and written information, patients and
parents should be signposted to NHS, governmental or other pre-approved
websites,” they added.
ANI / Times of India