Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using Twitter for public health surveillance of dental pain

Date:
July 18, 2011
Source:
International & American Associations for Dental Research
Summary:
In a new study, researchers have demonstrated that Twitter users are extensively sharing their experiences of toothache and seeking advice from other users. The microblogging service Twitter is a new means for the public to communicate health concerns and could afford health care professionals new ways to communicate with patients, the study's authors say.

The microblogging service Twitter is a new means for the public to communicate health concerns and could afford health care professionals new ways to communicate with patients. With the growing ubiquity of user-generated online content via social networking Web sites such as Twitter, it is clear we are experiencing a revolution in communication and information sharing.

In a study titled "Public Health Surveillance of Dental Pain via Twitter," published in the Journal of Dental Research -- the official publication of the International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR), researchers demonstrated that Twitter users are already extensively sharing their experiences of toothache and seeking advice from other users. Researchers Natalie Heaivilin, Barbara Gerbert, Jens Page and Jennifer Gibbs all from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, authored this study.

The researchers investigated the content of Twitter posts meeting search criteria relating to dental pain. A set of 1,000 tweets was randomly selected from 4,859 tweets over seven nonconsecutive days. The content was coded using pre-established, non-mutually exclusive categories, including the experience of dental pain, actions taken or contemplated in response to a toothache, impact on daily life and advice sought from the Twitter community.

After excluding ambiguous tweets, spam and repeat users, 772 tweets were analyzed and frequencies calculated. Of those tweets, 83% were primarily categorized as a general statement of dental pain, 22% as an action taken or contemplated, and 15% as describing an impact on daily activities. Among the actions taken or contemplated, 44% reported seeing a dentist, 43% took an analgesic or antibiotic medication and 14% actively sought advice from the Twitter community.

This research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Center for Research Resources, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the Office of the Director, and the UCSF Clinical & Translational Science Institute.

"This paper highlights the potential of using social media to collect public health data for research purposes," said JDR Editor-in-Chief William Giannobile. "Utilizing Twitter is an interesting, early stage approach with potential impact in the assessment of large sets of population information."

A perspective article titled "Using Social Media for Research and Public Health Surveillance" was written by Paul Eke of the Centers for Disease Control. In it, he states that the extensive reach of Twitter is currently being used successfully in public health to distribute health information to the segments of the public who access Twitter, but there are major limitations and challenges to be overcome before Twitter and its data products can be used for routine public health surveillance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International & American Associations for Dental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. N. Heaivilin, B. Gerbert, J. E. Page, J. L. Gibbs. Public Health Surveillance of Dental Pain via Twitter. Journal of Dental Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/0022034511415273
  2. P. I. Eke. Using Social Media for Research and Public Health Surveillance. Journal of Dental Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/0022034511415277

Cite This Page:

International & American Associations for Dental Research. "Using Twitter for public health surveillance of dental pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718151602.htm>.
International & American Associations for Dental Research. (2011, July 18). Using Twitter for public health surveillance of dental pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718151602.htm
International & American Associations for Dental Research. "Using Twitter for public health surveillance of dental pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718151602.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins