bims-librar Biomed News
on Biomedical librarianship
Issue of 2020‒05‒17
eleven papers selected by
Thomas Krichel
Open Library Society


  1. BMJ Glob Health. 2020 May;pii: e002604. [Epub ahead of print]5(5):
    Li HO, Bailey A, Huynh D, Chan J.
      INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic is this century's largest public health emergency and its successful management relies on the effective dissemination of factual information. As a social media platform with billions of daily views, YouTube has tremendous potential to both support and hinder public health efforts. However, the usefulness and accuracy of most viewed YouTube videos on COVID-19 have not been investigated.METHODS: A YouTube search was performed on 21 March 2020 using keywords 'coronavirus' and 'COVID-19', and the top 75 viewed videos from each search were analysed. Videos that were duplicates, non-English, non-audio and non-visual, exceeding 1 hour in duration, live and unrelated to COVID-19 were excluded. Two reviewers coded the source, content and characteristics of included videos. The primary outcome was usability and reliability of videos, analysed using the novel COVID-19 Specific Score (CSS), modified DISCERN (mDISCERN) and modified JAMA (mJAMA) scores.
    RESULTS: Of 150 videos screened, 69 (46%) were included, totalling 257 804 146 views. Nineteen (27.5%) videos contained non-factual information, totalling 62 042 609 views. Government and professional videos contained only factual information and had higher CSS than consumer videos (mean difference (MD) 2.21, 95% CI 0.10 to 4.32, p=0.037); mDISCERN scores than consumer videos (MD 2.46, 95% CI 0.50 to 4.42, p=0.008), internet news videos (MD 2.20, 95% CI 0.19 to 4.21, p=0.027) and entertainment news videos (MD 2.57, 95% CI 0.66 to 4.49, p=0.004); and mJAMA scores than entertainment news videos (MD 1.21, 95% CI 0.07 to 2.36, p=0.033) and consumer videos (MD 1.27, 95% CI 0.10 to 2.44, p=0.028). However, they only accounted for 11% of videos and 10% of views.
    CONCLUSION: Over one-quarter of the most viewed YouTube videos on COVID-19 contained misleading information, reaching millions of viewers worldwide. As the current COVID-19 pandemic worsens, public health agencies must better use YouTube to deliver timely and accurate information and to minimise the spread of misinformation. This may play a significant role in successfully managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords:  cross-sectional survey; health policy; prevention strategies; public health; respiratory infections
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002604
  2. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2020 May 11. 1-10
    Basch CH, Mohlman J, Hillyer GC, Garcia P.
      INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to assess the readability of information on the Internet posted about COVID-19 to determine how closely these materials are written to the recommended reading levels.METHODS: Using the search term "coronavirus," information posted on the first 100 English language websites was identified. Using an online readability calculator, multiple readability tests were conducted to assure a comprehensive representation would result.
    RESULTS: The mean readability scores ranged between grade levels 6.2 and 17.8 (graduate school level). Four of the five measures (GFI, CLI, SMOG, FRE) found that readability exceeded the 10th grade reading level indicating that the text of these websites would be difficult for the average American to read. The mean reading level for nearly all non-commercial and commercial websites was at or above the 10th grade reading level.
    DISCUSSION: Messages about COVID-19 must be readable at an 'easy' level, and must contain clear guidelines for behavior. The degree to which individuals seek information in response to risk messages is positively related to the expectation that the information will resolve uncertainty. However, if the information is too complex to interpret and it fails to lead to disambiguation this can contribute to feelings of panic.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; on-line information; readability
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2020.151
  3. Glob Public Health. 2020 May 12. 1-8
    D'Souza RS, D'Souza S, Strand N, Anderson A, Vogt MNP, Olatoye O.
      Media coverage on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been extensive, yet large gaps remain in our understanding of the role of social media platforms during worldwide health crisis. The purpose of this study was to assess the most viewed YouTube videos on COVID-19 for medical content. We coded video characteristics, source, and medical content of the 113 most-widely viewed videos about COVID-19. Seventy-nine (69.9%) videos were classified as useful, and 10 (8.8%) videos were classified as misleading. Independent users were more likely to post misleading videos than useful videos (60.0% vs 21.5%, P = 0.009). News agencies were more likely to post useful videos than misleading videos (72.2% vs 40.0%, P = 0.039). Useful videos were more likely to present any information on prevalence or incidence (79.7% vs 20.0%, P < 0.001), as well as information on outcomes or prognosis (84.8% vs 30.0%, P < 0.001) compared to misleading videos. The World Health Organization contributed one useful video (1.3%), while no videos from the Center for Disease Control were included. Although YouTube generally is a useful source of medical information on the COVID-19 pandemic, increased efforts to disseminate accurate information from reputable sources is desired to help mitigate disease spread and decrease unnecessary panic in the general population.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; communication; disease outbreaks; information dissemination; internet; public health; social media
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2020.1761426
  4. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2020 May 12.
    Al-Benna S.
      BACKGROUND: National and international aesthetic surgery society websites are an important source of information for patients and aesthetic surgeons. The current COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented global health crisis. The aim of this study was to assess the information available on national and international aesthetic surgery society websites on the current pandemic of COVID-19.METHODS: National and international aesthetic surgery society websites were assessed with regard to COVID-19 information.
    RESULTS: Thirty-one per cent of nations had aesthetic surgery society websites. Twenty-two per cent of national society websites had a specific COVID-19 section. Seventeen per cent of these websites had COVID-19-specific guidelines available; of these websites with guidelines, 77% had a specific COVID-19 section advising to provide only urgent or emergent care and 46% provided their sovereign state's directives to provide only urgent or emergent care. Two international aesthetic surgery society websites had COVID-19-specific guidelines, and one of the two had significant educational resources.
    CONCLUSION: The availability of COVID-19 clinical guidelines and patient information sheets on national plastic surgery society websites is sparse. In contrast, one international society website carefully analysed national and international recommendations and guidelines and made general recommendations for its members with regularly updated resources. This study suggests that improvement and increase in COVID-19 information provided by many national aesthetic surgery society websites may be improved by links to the ISAPS website.
    LEVEL OF EVIDENCE IV: This journal requires that authors assign a level of evidence to each article. For a full description of these Evidence-Based Medicine ratings, please refer to the Table of Contents or the online Instructions to Authors www.springer.com/00266.
    Keywords:  Aesthetic surgery; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Internet; Medical societies; Operative surgical procedures; Pandemics; Plastic surgery; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-020-01751-w
  5. Cancer Treat Res Commun. 2020 May 01. pii: S2468-2942(20)30013-7. [Epub ahead of print]23 100176
    Perrault EK, Hildenbrand GM, McCullock SP, Schmitz KJ, Lambert NJ.
      Despite the internet being a common place breast cancer patients seek information, navigating this Wild West of content can be challenging. The present study analyzed open-ended data from breast cancer survivors (n = 77) regarding their online information seeking behaviors when looking for breast cancer information to help inform the creation of improved online educational materials. Participants were asked what prompted them to seek information, which websites and search terms they used both before and after diagnosis, what information was useful, what misinformation was found, and what they would like to see improved. Results indicated symptoms, tests, or diagnoses prompt women to seek breast cancer information online, and that many different search terms and websites are used. More search terms and websites were utilized after diagnosis compared to before diagnosis, but the most common search terms and websites did not change much from before to after diagnosis. Cancer specific and general medical websites were the most popular. The most useful information related to treatment, obtaining information from other breast cancer survivors, statistics, and positively-valenced information. Though misinformation was not reported by many participants, some mentioned outdated survival rates, inaccurate information about alternative treatments, and other breast cancer patients' experiences that did not align with their own. Participants desired improvements in treatment information, more factual information, a guide, and information that is easy to understand. Creation of a guide and use of search engine optimization to help breast cancer patients navigate this online information could be beneficial.
    Keywords:  Information seeking; Misinformation; Online; Search terms; Websites
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctarc.2020.100176
  6. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2020 May 10. pii: 23521. [Epub ahead of print]
    Allegue-Magaz S, Peñarrocha-Diago M, Chamorro-Petronacci CM, Lorenzo-Pouso AI, Blanco-Carrión A, García-García A, Pérez-Sayáns M.
      BACKGROUND: The main objective of this study is to examine the quality of the information available for patients online with regards to the apicoectomy surgical procedure, both on general and critically selected websites. The hypothesis is that general websites has less quality than other that have been pre-selected.MATERIAL AND METHODS: A search for the English term "apicoectomy" was performed online. The first 100 websites that appeared in both Google and Yahoo were analysed. Seven validated instruments were used for these two dimensions: quality (DISCERN, JAMA and EQIP), and readability (FRES, Fog Scale, FKRGL and SMOG).
    RESULTS: A total of 21 websites (10.5%) were selected. The readability of the websites in both groups was difficult or very difficult. With regards to the quality of the websites, the DISCERN instrument indicated an average value of 2.28 [2.14-2.39] for all of the websites, therefore indicating very low quality with serious defects; however, in the selected websites, the average quality was 3.16 [2.84-3.48], indicating potential, but not serious defects (p<0.001). There were statistically significant differences for the FRES values (p = 0.030), with a greater readability in the selected group of websites.
    CONCLUSIONS: We believe that it is very important for the population to become aware of and learn how to use certain exclusion criteria when selecting medical consultation websites, as in doing so, they will be able to obtain a higher quality of information from these websites.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.4317/medoral.23521
  7. Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2020 May 12.
    Zuidema WP, Graumans MJ, Oosterhuis JWA, van der Steeg AFW, van Heurn E.
      INTRODUCTION:  The Internet is a frequently used tool for patients with pectus excavatum (PE) to get information about symptoms and treatment options. In addition, it is used by both health care providers as a marketing tool and support group systems. The Internet health information varies in precision, quality, and reliability. The study purpose was to determine the quality of information on the PE Web sites using the DISCERN instrument, including information about operation and potential complications after a Nuss bar procedure.MATERIALS AND METHODS:  Four search engines, Google, Yahoo, Ask, and Bing, were used to explore seven key terms concerning PE. Search language was English. The DISCERN quality instrument was used to evaluate the Web sites. Also, information on possible complications was scored per Web site.
    RESULTS:  A total of 560 Web sites were assessed in March 2019. Excluded were 139 Web sites. There were 333 duplicates, leaving 88 unique Web sites. Of these, 58.1% were hospital-related information Web sites, 28.4% medical information Web sites, and 3.4% patient forum sites. Interactive multimedia was used on 21.6% of the sites. Pain postoperatively was mentioned on 64.8% of the sites, while only 9.1% mentioned the mortality risk of the surgical correction of PE for Nuss bar placement. The quality of the unique Web sites showed a mean DISCERN score of 42.5 (standard deviation 12.2). Medical information Web sites, encyclopedia, and government-sponsored sites had higher DISCERN scores. Hospital-related information sites, medical companies, and lay persons' sites, had lower total scores.
    CONCLUSION:  The overall quality of PE Web sites is low to moderate, with serious shortcomings.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1710026
  8. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2020 May;pii: S1499-4046(20)30054-3. [Epub ahead of print]52(5): 522-527
    Branscum P, Patricio-Agosto N.
      OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether children could find the correct answers to obesity-related health questions on the Internet and observe the search strategies children use when searching for such information.METHODS: Twenty-five parent-child dyads, from a southwestern US summer day camp, participated in this cross-sectional study. Parents' health literacy skills were evaluated. Children searched the Internet for 6 questions related to nutrition and physical activity. Search activities were recorded via Camtasia. Quantitative (ie, time spent per question) and qualitative data (ie, themes related to difficulties searching) were extracted by rewatching the recordings.
    RESULTS: All parents had either proficient or basic levels of health literacy. The question that had the highest rating for being correctly answered pertained to physical activity recommendations, whereas none of the children were able to find recommended servings of food groups.
    CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Children were not successful in finding correct answers to most of the questions and used ineffective search strategies. Interventions that teach children effective search strategies for health information are needed.
    Keywords:  childhood obesity; digital health literacy; online information searching
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2020.02.002
  9. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal. 2020 May 10. pii: 23647. [Epub ahead of print]
    Xie L, Qin W, Gu Y, Pathak JL, Zeng S, Du M.
      BACKGROUND: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) provide the highest level of evidence and are likely to influence clinical decision-making. This study evaluated the reporting quality of RCT abstracts on drug therapy of periodontal disease and assessed the associated factors.MATERIAL AND METHODS: The Pubmed database was searched for periodontal RCTs published in Science Citation Indexed (SCI) dental journals from 2010/01/01 to 2019/07/17. Information was extracted from the abstracts according to a modified Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guideline checklist. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistical analysis and the statistical associations were examined using the linear regression analysis (P<0.05).
    RESULTS: This study retrieved 1715 articles and 249 of them were finally included. The average overall CONSORT score was 15.6 ± 3.4, which represented 40.9% (±0.6) of CONSORT criteria filling. The reporting rate of some items (trial design, numbers analyzed, confidence intervals, intention-to-treat analysis or per-protocol analysis, harms, registration) was less than 30%. The adequate reporting rate of some items (participants, randomization, numbers analyzed, confidence intervals, intention-to-treat analysis or per protocol analysis) was no more than 4%. None of the abstracts reported funding. According to the multivariable linear regression results, number of authors (P=0.030), word count (P<0.001), continent (P=0.003), structured format (P<0.001), type of periodontal disease (P<0.001) and international collaboration (P=0.023) have a significant association with reporting quality.
    CONCLUSIONS: The quality of RCT abstracts on drug therapy of periodontal disease in SCI dental journals remained suboptimal. More efforts should be made to improve RCT abstracts reporting quality.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.4317/medoral.23647
  10. BMC Bioinformatics. 2020 May 14. 21(1): 188
    Kilicoglu H, Rosemblat G, Fiszman M, Shin D.
      BACKGROUND: In the era of information overload, natural language processing (NLP) techniques are increasingly needed to support advanced biomedical information management and discovery applications. In this paper, we present an in-depth description of SemRep, an NLP system that extracts semantic relations from PubMed abstracts using linguistic principles and UMLS domain knowledge. We also evaluate SemRep on two datasets. In one evaluation, we use a manually annotated test collection and perform a comprehensive error analysis. In another evaluation, we assess SemRep's performance on the CDR dataset, a standard benchmark corpus annotated with causal chemical-disease relationships.RESULTS: A strict evaluation of SemRep on our manually annotated dataset yields 0.55 precision, 0.34 recall, and 0.42 F 1 score. A relaxed evaluation, which more accurately characterizes SemRep performance, yields 0.69 precision, 0.42 recall, and 0.52 F 1 score. An error analysis reveals named entity recognition/normalization as the largest source of errors (26.9%), followed by argument identification (14%) and trigger detection errors (12.5%). The evaluation on the CDR corpus yields 0.90 precision, 0.24 recall, and 0.38 F 1 score. The recall and the F 1 score increase to 0.35 and 0.50, respectively, when the evaluation on this corpus is limited to sentence-bound relationships, which represents a fairer evaluation, as SemRep operates at the sentence level.
    CONCLUSIONS: SemRep is a broad-coverage, interpretable, strong baseline system for extracting semantic relations from biomedical text. It also underpins SemMedDB, a literature-scale knowledge graph based on semantic relations. Through SemMedDB, SemRep has had significant impact in the scientific community, supporting a variety of clinical and translational applications, including clinical decision making, medical diagnosis, drug repurposing, literature-based discovery and hypothesis generation, and contributing to improved health outcomes. In ongoing development, we are redesigning SemRep to increase its modularity and flexibility, and addressing weaknesses identified in the error analysis.
    Keywords:  Biomedical relation extraction; Natural language processing; Scientific publications; Semantic interpretation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12859-020-3517-7
  11. J Med Internet Res. 2020 May 13. 22(5): e16763
    King C, Judge C, Byrne A, Conlon N.
      BACKGROUND: Internet search engines are increasingly being utilized as the first port of call for medical information by the public. The prevalence of allergies in developed countries has risen steadily over time. There exists significant variability in the quality of health-related information available on the web. Inaccurately diagnosed and mismanaged allergic disease has major downstream effects on patients, general practitioners, and regional allergy services.OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to verify whether Ireland has a relatively high rate of web-based allergy-related searches, to establish the proportion of medically accurate web pages encountered by the public, and to compare current search results localized to Dublin, Ireland with urban centers elsewhere.
    METHODS: Google Trends was used to evaluate regional interest of allergy-related search terms over a 10-year period using terms "allergy," "allergy test," "food allergy," and "food intolerance." These terms were then inputted into Google search, localizing them to cities in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Output for each search was reviewed by two independent clinicians and deemed rational or nonevidence based, as per current best practice guidelines. Searches localized to Dublin were initially completed in 2015 and repeated in 2019 to assess for changes in the quality of search results over time.
    RESULTS: Ireland has a persistently high demand for web-based information relating to allergy and ranks first worldwide for "allergy test," second for "food allergy" and "food intolerance," and seventh for "allergy" over the specified 10-year timeframe. Results for each of the four subsearches in Dublin (2015) showed that over 60% of websites promoted nonevidence-based diagnostics. A marginal improvement in scientifically robust information was seen in 2019, but results for "allergy test" and "food intolerance" continued to promote alternative testing 57% (8/14) of the time. This strongly contrasted with results localized to Southampton and Rochester, where academic and hospital-affiliated web pages predominantly featured. Government-funded Department of Health websites did not feature in the top five results for Dublin searches "allergy testing," "food allergy," or "food intolerance" in either 2015 or 2019.
    CONCLUSIONS: The Irish public demonstrates a keen interest in seeking allergy-related information on the web. The proportion of evidence-based websites encountered by the Irish public is considerably lower than that encountered by patients in other urban centers. Factors contributing to this are the lack of a specialist register for allergy in Ireland, inadequate funding for allergy centers currently in operation, and insufficient promotion by the health service of their web-based health database, which contains useful patient-oriented information on allergy. Increased funding of clinical allergology services will more meaningfully impact the health of patients if there is a parallel investment by the health service in information and communication technology consultancy to amplify their presence on the web.
    Keywords:  Ireland; allergy; food allergy; food intolerance; immunology; technology
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.2196/16763