AOA Advises against Using Wikipedia to Research Medical Conditions

Dr. Michael Thomas, a neurosurgeon at a solo private practice in Washington, has over 20 years of medical experience. An active member of the professional community, Dr. Michael Thomas belongs to several professional organizations, including the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), a group of over 100,000 osteopathic physicians and medical students.

The AOA recently published a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association regarding the accuracy of information found in Wikipedia articles about common medical conditions. The study identified America’s top 10 costliest medical conditions and studied the Wikipedia articles most closely associated with each condition. Results showed that nine out of 10 Wikipedia articles contained factual errors when compared to peer-reviewed medical literature about the same conditions.

The authors of the study note that although Wikipedia is convenient, using it as a primary resource is not beneficial. While consulting with a physician is the best course of action, patients can search for websites that contain peer-reviewed information or sites with medical advisory boards when looking for convenient information.


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