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Wikipedia wrong in nine out of 10 medical articles

Jun. 2, 2014

Wikipedia wrong in nine out of 10 medical articles (Fotolia)


 

Wikipedia is the most popular online reference tool, but new research shows it's not the best source for health information because it contained incorrect information in nine out of 10 articles.

University of North Carolina researchers compared information about 10 disorders from a peer-reviewed article to what was in the Wikipedia entries.

The entries were about the 10 most expensive medical conditions: coronary artery disease, lung cancer, major depressive disorder, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, back pain, hyperlipidemia and concussions.

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There was "statistically significant discordance" between nine of the 10 selected Wikipedia entries and the assertions in the peer-reviewed article.

Information written in both forms about concussions was found to be consistent.

"Our findings reinforce the idea that physicians and medical students who currently use Wikipedia as a medical reference should be discouraged from doing so because of the potential for errors," the researchers said.

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