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Fake news: the impact of the internet on population health


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Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the search for health information on the Internet and to determine the frequency and main means of spreading fake health news. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted through the virtual distribution of questionnaires on social media platforms in 2019 by using the snowball technique. The questionnaire collected information regarding sociodemographics, means used to clarify doubts about health, implementation of information obtained through the Internet, receipt of fake news, and means of transmission of fake news. Quantitative variables are described as means and standard deviations, and categorical variables are described as frequencies and percentages. The chi-square and Fisher's exact tests were used. Results: Out of 1,195 respondents, 53% had followed Internet guidance without consulting a health professional, especially young people and individuals with low education levels (p<0.05). The resources most used to answer questions about health were a physician (78%) and Google (51%), and searches using the latter were more predominant among younger age groups (p<0.05). A large part of the sample (89.4%) had received fake news, and the main means of receipt were Facebook and WhatsApp. Conclusions: The Internet was the second most commonly used means to search for health information. A significant portion of the population adopts actions based on this information. The frequency of broadcasting fake news through this digital medium is high.
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Rev Assoc Med Bras 2021;67(7):926-930
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the search for health information on the Internet and to determine the frequency
and main means of spreading fake health news.
METHODS: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted through the virtual distribution of questionnaires on social media platforms
in 2019 by using the snowball technique. The questionnaire collected information regarding sociodemographics, means used to clarify
doubts about health, implementation of information obtained through the Internet, receipt of fake news, and means of transmission of
fake news. Quantitative variables are described as means and standard deviations, and categorical variables are described as frequencies
and percentages. The chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used.
RESULTS: Out of 1,195 respondents, 53% had followed Internet guidance without consulting a health professional, especially young
people and individuals with low education levels (p<0.05). The resources most used to answer questions about health were a physician
(78%) and Google (51%), and searches using the latter were more predominant among younger age groups (p<0.05). A large part of
the sample (89.4%) had received fake news, and the main means of receipt were Facebook and WhatsApp.
CONCLUSIONS: The Internet was the second most commonly used means to search for health information. A signicant portion of
the population adopts actions based on this information. The frequency of broadcasting fake news through this digital medium is high.
KEYWORDS: Internet. Social media. Online access to information. Misinformation.
Fake news: the impact of the
internet on population health
Emanuelle Thais Zanatta1, Giulia Puppi de Macedo Wanderley1, Isabel Kuchpil Branco1* ,
Daiane Pereira1, Letícia Hanae Kato1, Eliane Mara Cesário Pereira Maluf2
The Internet has democratized access to health informa-
tion, increasing the autonomy of patients in their relation-
ship with healthcare professionals. Known by some as the
“Dr. Google” phenomenon, the online search for symp-
toms, diagnoses, and treatments by patients has caused
fear due to the various misinformation that accompanies
such searches1.
In this scenario, fake news is a cause for concern. Fake news
is dened as intentionally false information that is similar to
credible news but with the intent to manipulate the recipient
and draw attention to its content2,3 by misinforming and/or
obtaining advantages over certain populations3.
Fake news usually has a wide reach, especially when propa-
gated over the Internet. People usually give in to the emotional
or political appeals coming from negative news2. Negative news
arouses greater interest than does optimistic news, and therefore,
such news stories are shared quickly4. To induce greater credibility,
these stories usually involve health professionals or institutions5.
According to PSafe (2018), a cybersecurity company, in
its fth Digital Security Report, health was the second most
frequent target of fake news, accounting for 41.6% of all fake
1Universidade Positivo – Curitiba (PR), Brazil.
2Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba (PR), Brazil.
*Corresponding author:
Conicts of interest: the authors declare there are no conicts of interest. Funding: none.
Received on May 07, 2021. Accepted on May 09, 2021.
Zanatta, E. T. et al.
Rev Assoc Med Bras 2021;67(7):926-930
news2. Currently, there is an epidemic of fake news in Brazil,
directly impacting public health, and this epidemic has moti-
vated actions to combat disinformation. e Brazilian Ministry
of Health has dedicated an exclusive page to this topic, Saúde
sem Fake News (, which encourages peo-
ple to send images or texts they have received via WhatsApp so
that the information can be checked. Subsequently, the news
is classied as true or false and posted on the page.
Given this scenario, the aim of this study was to evaluate
the search for health information on the Internet by the popu-
lation and to determine the frequency of receiving fake health
news and main means by which fake news is propagated.
This was a descriptive cross-sectional observational study.
isstudy was approved by the Research Ethics Committee
of the Universidade Positivo in 2019 (Opinion 3,496,815).
e data collection was performed in 2019 through the
virtual distribution of questionnaires (Google Forms) on social
media platforms. Brazilians who were older than 18 years and
who agreed to participate in the study were included. eques-
tionnaire collected information about sociodemographics, means
to clarify doubts about health, implementation of informa-
tion obtained through the Internet, receipt of fake news, and
means of fake news transmission. Duplicate questionnaires were
excluded. To reduce the risk of incomplete electronic forms,
all elds were marked as “mandatory questions.” e partici-
pants were informed that the data would be kept condential.
To distribute the questionnaires, nonprobabilistic sampling
(snowball technique) was used, a methodology that consists of
the individuals selected by the researchers to propagate theques-
tionnaire to their acquaintances, gradually increasingthe sam-
ple size. To ensure sample diversity, the questionnaires were
sent to people of dierent ages and with dierent professions.
eseparticipants were invited to spread the questionnaire
among their groups with people of a similar prole, and so on,
forming reference chains for the data collection.
e quantitative variables are presented as means and stan-
dard deviations, and the categorical variables are presented as
frequencies and percentages. Statistical analyses were performed
using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version
20.0® (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) using the chi-square test
and Fisher’s exact test. e signicance level was set at p<0.05.
A total of 1,195 questionnaires were answered, of which
815 (68.2%) were answered by women. e median age of
the respondents was 35 years (minimum 18 and maximum
83years). e young adult population was predominant, that
is, 706 (59.1%) individuals; 370 (30.9%) were between the ages
of 40 and 60 years, and 119 (10%) were older than 60years.
Regarding origin, 935 (78.2%) respondents were from Paraná,
and 260 (21.8%) were from other states.
Regarding education, 282 (23.6%) respondents had com-
plete or incomplete elementary or high school education, and
913 (76.4%) had complete or incomplete higher education.
Ofthe total, 235 (19.7%) respondents were students, 176
(14.7%) were health professionals, and 750 (62.8%) were pro-
fessionals from other areas.
e majority, 929 (77.7%), stated that they go to the
physician to clarify doubts about health, 609 (51%) stated
that they consult Google, 219 (18.3%) stated that they resort
to friends, 167 (14%) stated that they seek information in
Basic Health Units, and 104 (8.7%) stated that they look
for information on government websites. It was possible to
include more than one source of information in the responses.
eyounger the age group, the greater was the use of Google.
In turn, physicians were more sought after by older individ-
uals (p<0.05) (Figure 1).
To answer health questions, women sought the opin-
ion of physicians more than did men (79.8 versus 73.4%,
p=0.017), while men used Google more than women (56.8
versus 48.2%, p=0.006). People with higher education levels
sought the opinion of physicians more (p<0.001). ere was
no positive association between education level and seeking
health information on social networks and Google (p=0.734
and p=0.454, respectively).
*With the increase in age, there was an increasing trend in the use of
physicians (p<0.001).
**With the increase in age, there was a decreasing trend in the utilization
of these sources (p<0.001).
Figure 1. Distribution of health information search sources
by age group (n=1,195).
Fake news: the impact on health
Rev Assoc Med Bras 2021;67(7):926-930
Of the total participants, 638 (53.4%) had followed health
guidance from social networks without consulting a professional
in the eld, and 190 (15.9%) had not followed any medical
guidance because of the social network content. Regarding
health-related behaviors, young people were more inuenced
by news found on the Internet (Figure 2).
Individuals with an education that did not exceed the high
school level followed information obtained on the Internet
without consulting a professional more often than did indi-
viduals with higher education (p=0.029).
e majority of the respondents, 888 (74.3%), claimed
to verify the sources of health news received. Health profes-
sionals claimed to verify these sources more than did other
professionals (83.1 versus 72.9%, p<0.001), and people
with higher education claimed to verify these sources more
than did those with a lower level of education (77.7 versus
63.5%, p<0.001).
Most of the respondents, 1,069 (89.4%), received some
fake news about health. e main routes of receipt are shown
in Figure 3. Facebook was the main source for younger respon-
dents (p=0.015), and WhatsApp was the main source for older
respondents (p=0.005).
Only 9 (0.7%) respondents had never heard about “fake
news,” while 1,081 (90.5%) were unaware of the Saúde sem
Fake News tool. Health professionals showed greater knowl-
edge of this resource than did other professionals (16.4 versus
8.1%, p=0.0017).
Physicians were the source most consulted among the respon-
dents to answer questions about health. Women reported con-
tacting a physician to answer their questions more frequently
than did men, a nding that is consistent with the Brazilian
reality, where health services are more commonly used by
women. is is due, among other factors, to the various socio-
cultural and institutional barriers that hinder men from seek-
ing health services6.
However, the Internet is an important vehicle for health
information and has been increasingly used. In this study, there
was a worrying trend among young people regarding a reduc-
tion in the use of physicians as sources of health information
and a signicant increase in Google searches. is could be
explained by the higher occurrence of chronic diseases in the
elderly population and consequently more frequent medical
follow-ups. In addition, this portion of the population has
greater diculty nding this information on the Internet7.
ebehavior of young people, in turn, is probably due to
greater contact with technology, leading to greater condence
in using online tools. is nding suggests that with the aging
of this population, the search for information on the Internet
will tend to increase and will become frequent even among
future elderly individuals.
e data show that the greater the use of the Internet, the
lower is the inclination to seek a physician and the higher are
self-medication levels7. is is consistent with what was found
in this study, as among those who reported having followed
Internet guidance without consulting a health professional, the
majority were young people.
People with a lower level of education also more frequently
followed guidance obtained on the Internet without consulting
health professionals. is can be explained by the lower access
to health services by this portion of the population8.
If reliable sources are used, the search for health informa-
tion on the Internet may have benets, such as a greater under-
standing by the patient about the treatment and prevention
*There was a decreasing trend in the rst and second behaviors as age
increased (p<0.001 and p=0.002, respectively).
Figure 2. Actions taken by the population regarding health
information obtained through the Internet by age group
Figure 3. Percentage distribution of the source of fake news
by social media platform (n=1,069).
Zanatta, E. T. et al.
Rev Assoc Med Bras 2021;67(7):926-930
of diseases9. However, it can lead to increased self-diagno-
ses, leading to erroneous conclusions and impairment in the
physician–patient relationship10. It can also cause anxiety,
increased medicalization, instrumentalization, and overdi-
agnosis among patients10. Also concerning is the increase in
self-medication, its various side eects, and its interference
with prescribed treatments9.
e percentage of respondents who had received proven
fake health news was high (89.4%). In Brazil, the impact
offake news can be observed in the low adherence to vacci-
nation campaigns, as occurred from 2016 to 2018 with the
yellow fever and measles vaccines, which lead to new out-
breaks of these diseases5, and during the COVID-19 pan-
demic in 2020/21, when several ineective treatments were
disseminated3. In addition, fears caused by false information
can lead to reduced adherence to treatment and scientically
proven diagnostic methods11.
PSafe (2018) reported that the three main platforms for the
dissemination of fake news are WhatsApp, Internet browsers,
and Facebook. In agreement with these data, the most frequent
means of the dissemination of fake health news found in this
study were Facebook and WhatsApp; these platforms are easy
to access and facilitate the creation and sharing of content,
in addition to being the most currently accessed media plat-
forms2,11. e lack of monitoring of what is posted and lim-
ited media education among users also facilitates the dissem-
ination of fake news11.
Given that the Internet has become one of the main resources
for searching health information and that fake news is increas-
ingly present on the Internet, it is essential to develop strate-
gies for the safe use of these technologies. Coordinated actions
among health professionals, governments, fact-checkers, and
social media platforms are necessary12.
e Ministry of Health adopted an important action in the
ght against fake news by creating Saúde sem Fake News in 2018.
However, our study showed that only 9.5% of participants and
only 16.4% of health professionals knew about this channel.
Investment in media education and awareness campaigns
about fake news is extremely important. Another suggestion
is to reduce the priority of sites that are sources of fake news
by search engines, leading to less views of these publications13.
As fake news feeds on the distrust of people regarding medicine
and science, it is important to strengthen the physician–patient rela-
tionship. For this, professionals must use language accessible to the
population, be open to clarify doubts, and provide their patients with
reliable sources to search for health information on the Internet5,9.
One of the limitations of this study is that the sample was
not completely representative of the Brazilian population.
ere was a predominance of respondents with higher educa-
tion. Due to this, it is possible that this study underestimated
the inuence of the Internet on the health of the population
because people with less education were those who most fol-
lowed information from the Internet.
Young people mostly used the Internet to learn about health.
A large proportion of the population implements advice found
on the Internet without consulting a physician (53.4%), espe-
cially people with low education levels and young people, and
this behavior can have harmful consequences on health.
e percentage of people who had received fake health
news, mainly through Facebook and WhatsApp, was quite high
(89.4%). Faced with this increasingly worrying scenario, it is
necessary to invest in the dissemination and implementation
of services and measures to combat fake news.
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curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft,
Writing – review & editing. LHK, DP: Project conceptualization,
Methodology, Data curation. EMCPM: Project conceptualization,
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... In addition, our results in relation to education levels also agreed with other studies with the situation changing at older ages. People who had completed their university degrees longer ago would have completed courses that did not provide adequate ICT skills, thereby leading to a significant increase in the demand for in-person care resources in their old age [8,14,15,18,19,22]. ...
... This change might be because of a poorer general understanding of the physician explanations from this age, with some studies attributing it to the embarrassment that patients may feel related to not understanding the doctor when at older ages [23]. This segment of the population has a higher incidence of chronic disease, polypharmacy, and tends to have more difficulty using the internet and looking for health information [22,24]. In this current work, younger participants preferred to search the internet for information, while older patients more often consulted their physician or pharmacist. ...
... Some researchers described that, among older adults, males more often used the internet to search for medical information, but this was because they were more likely to use the internet in general [15]. There is currently no gender divide regarding internet use at younger ages in Spain [7] and so it has been suggested that when the population gets older, internet use will increase and will be prevalent even among the future elderly population [22,26], with gender and generational divides perhaps disappearing. ...
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Increasing technological advances have generated a digital dependency in the population, resulting in a group of digitally excluded vulnerable people that lack basic digital skills. The aim of this study was to assess the digital divide in patients in relation to the healthcare environment. We explored the extent and effects of the digital health divide by undertaking a systematic review of the academic literature and comparing our findings with the results of a cross-sectional in-person survey answered by 881 people at four community pharmacies. In terms of the sociodemographic profile of the patients, we collected data regarding their gender, age, education level, and location (periphery or urban). The parameters evaluated were use of the internet to search for health information, use of telemedicine, use of different medical/healthcare applications, understanding explanations given by physicians regarding health, and asking pharmacists for help about newly prescribed treatments. Moreover, 168 pharmacists answered an online survey about how often they helped patients to make health center appointments or to download their COVID-19 vaccination certificate. Gender did not influence these results, but age, education level, and population location did. Those with the lowest levels of education required more help to request a health center appointment. People with high education levels and those living in an urban environment more often searched the internet for information about treatments that were new to them. Finally, people living in periphery areas received more help from their pharmacists, 60% of which said they had helped patients to download their COVID-19 vaccination certificate, with 24% of them saying they helped patients with this on a daily basis.
... The Internet can affect health from multiple domains, one of which is information (17,18). Through the analysis of Knowledge Gap Theory, it is found that the Digital Divide causes unequal opportunities for information interaction, and the ability to search and utilize information will affect the use of the Internet by affecting human capital, thereby deepening the IUS (18). ...
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Background The development of Internet information technology will generate an Internet use gap, which will have certain adverse effects on health, but internet information dependence can alleviate these negative effects. Objective This article is to demonstrate the negative impact of the internet use gap on population health in developing countries and to propose improvement paths. Methods This article used the 2018 China Family Tracking Survey database ( N = 11086). The research first used Latent class analysis (LCA) to identify potential categories of users with different Internet usage situations, then used the Bolck, Croon, and Hagenaars (BCH) method to perform latent class modeling with a continuous distal outcome, and finally built an intermediary model about Internet information dependence based on the model constraint function in Mplus software. Results (1) The Internet users can be divided into light-life users (C1: N = 1,061, 9.57%), all-around users ( N = 1,980, 17.86%(C2: N = 1,980, 17.86%), functional users (C3: N = 1,239, 11.18%), and pure-life users (C4: N = 6,806, 61.39%). (2) We examined individual characteristics, social characteristics and different living habits, and health differences between the latent classes. For example, there are certain structural differences on the effect of different categories of Internet use on health (C1: M = 3.089, SE = 0.040; C2: M = 3.151, SE = 0.037; C3: M = 3.070, SE = 0.035; C4: M = 2.948, SE = 0.016; P < 0.001). (3) The Internet use gap can affect health through the indirect path of Internet information dependence, and some of the mediation effects are significant. When the functional user group (C3) was taken as the reference group, the mediating effect values of light-life users (C1) and all-around users (C4) on health were −0.050 (SE = 0.18, Est./SE = −3.264, P = 0.001) and −0.080 (SE = 0.010, Est./SE = −8.412, P = 0.000) through Internet information dependence, respectively. However, the effect of categories on health was not significant after adding indirect paths. Conclusion The Internet use gap has a significant effect on health, and Internet information dependence plays an intermediary role in this effect path. The study proposes that attention should be paid to the diversified development of Internet use, the positive guiding function of Internet information channels should be made good use of, and the countermeasures and suggestions of marginalized groups in the digital age should also be paid attention to and protected.
Background In the face of digital technologies that help search for health information, an assessment of the quality of available information is necessary. Aims This study aimed to evaluate the quality of information on weight loss drugs on websites available in South America. Methods Websites from five countries in South America, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, were selected using the Google search tool in Portuguese and Spanish, with content about weight loss drugs. The quality of the information was analyzed using a specific health tool, while the pharmacological content was analyzed using a tool specifically created by the Delphi method. Results Seventy-six websites from Argentina, Brazil and Chile (20 websites each) and Colombia and Uruguay each with eight evaluated websites, were analyzed. Uruguay presented low-quality information on all websites for all the dimensions analyzed, while Brazil and Colombia presented low-quality information in the pharmacological dimension. In the final data, 92% (p = 0.9934) of the websites were considered low quality and the rest were of moderate quality. Conclusions We observed low-quality information on South American websites regarding weight loss drugs where there is a risk that the user's understanding and ultimately their quality of life may be adversely affected.
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In this factsheet we identify some of the main types, sources, and claims of COVID-19 misinformation seen so far. We analyse a sample of 225 pieces of misinformation rated false or misleading by fact-checkers and published in English between January and the end of March 2020, drawn from a collection of fact-checks maintained by First Draft News.
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One of the challenges today is to face fake news (false information) in health due to its potential impact on people’s lives. This article contributes to a new application of social impact in social media (SISM) methodology. This study focuses on the social impact of the research to identify what type of health information is false and what type of information is evidence of the social impact shared in social media. The analysis of social media includes Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. This analysis contributes to identifying how interactions in these forms of social media depend on the type of information shared. The results indicate that messages focused on fake health information are mostly aggressive, those based on evidence of social impact are respectful and transformative, and finally, deliberation contexts promoted in social media overcome false information about health. These results contribute to advancing knowledge in overcoming fake health-related news shared in social media.
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Background: The Internet offers great opportunities for consumers to be informed about their health. However, concerns have been raised regarding its impact on the traditional health consumer-health professional relationship. Our recent survey of 400 Australian adults identified that over half of consumers required some form of navigational support in locating appropriate Web-based health information. We propose that support provided by health professionals would be preferred by consumers; this preference is regardless of whether consumers have a need for navigational support. Secondary analysis of the survey dataset is presented here to quantify consumer-reported support preferences and barriers when navigating Web-based health information. Objective: We aimed to quantitatively identify consumers’ support preferences for locating Web-based health information and their barriers when navigating Web-based health information. We also aimed to compare such preferences and barriers between consumers identified as needing and not needing support when locating Web-based health information. Methods: Chi-square (χ2) tests identified whether each listed support preference differed between subgroups of consumers classified as needing (n=205, 51.3%) or not needing (n=195, 48.8%) navigational support; degree of association, via phi coefficient (φ) tests, were also considered to ascertain the likely practical significance of any differences. This was repeated for each listed barrier. Free-text responses regarding additional support preferences were descriptively analyzed and compared with the quantitative findings to provide a richer understanding of desired support for health information searches. Results: Of the 400 respondents, the most preferred mode of navigational support was involvement of health professionals; this was reported by participants identified as needing and not needing navigational support. While there was a significant difference between groups, the degree of association was small (χ21 [N=400]=13.2; P<.001; φ=.18). Qualitative data from the free-text responses supported consumers’ desire for health professional involvement. The two most commonly reported barriers when navigating desired Web-based health information were (1) volume of available information and (2) inconsistency of information between sources; these were reported by participants with and without a need for navigational support. While participants identified with a need for navigational support were more likely to report volume (χ21 [N=387]= 4.40; P=.04; φ=.11) and inconsistency of information (χ21 [N=387]= 16.10, P<.001, φ=.20) as barriers, the degrees of association were small to moderate. Conclusions: Despite concerns in the literature that the popularity of the Internet could compromise the health consumer-health professional relationship, our findings suggest the contrary. Our findings showed that health professionals were found to be the most commonly preferred mode of navigational support, even among consumers classified as not needing navigational support. Further research into how health professionals could assist consumers with Web-based health information seeking could strengthen the health consumer-health professional relationship amidst the growing use of “Dr Google.”
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Abstract Background: Two-thirds of all patients search the internet prior to a health consultation. Aim: To explore how searching for online health information before visiting a doctor influences patients’ behaviour during the consultation. Design & setting: A quantitative, observational, and cross-sectional study of 18–75-year-old patients who used the internet. Method: Patients were recruited by social media for the quantitative study. This was followed by a qualitiative study of GPs who were questioned in focus groups. Two questions were addressed: What is the effect of searching online health information on the behaviour of the patients? How does the GP handle this information? Results: Almost half of all responders (total n = 963) usually went to the doctor after the online information search but two-thirds were not reassured by the internet search. More than half of responders had more confidence in their GP after searching online. The older the responders, the more they went to the doctor after their internet search and the younger the responders, the more they were worried. The more frequently people consulted the internet for specific complaints, the more likely they reported reassurance. Discussion: Patients usually made an appointment with their GP after the internet search. New symptoms are rarely noticed and the search usually did not lead patients to distrust their GP. The majority of GPs described positive effects of the online search behaviour on the consultation. Conclusion: The emerging use of the internet for searching health information, commonly referred to as ’Dr Google’, is not seen as a threat by GPs and leads to a better mutual understanding of symptoms and diagnosis
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Background: Contemporary medicine has expressed concern about lay incursions into the diagnostic process buttressed by commonly available medical information on line. Even while the world wide web is a new structure, there is a long historical precedent for this concern. With the emergence of scientific medicine in the late 19th century came a strong belief in the role of diagnosis, not only to explain disease symptoms but also to differentiate the physician from a range of other unreliable practitioners. Along with this focus on diagnosis came also a concern expressed by doctors about patients' inclination to self-diagnose, or to propose candidate diagnoses for the problems that ailed them. Methods: This paper uses Zerubavel's social patterning method. Using material written by doctors from the late 19th until the mid-20th century, I explore comments about, and attitudes towards, self-diagnosis. Results: Three areas of concern about self-diagnosis are expressed by doctors. First, self-diagnosis produces anxiety in the patient. Second, it interferes with doctor-patient relationship. Finally self-diagnosis is commonly linked to commercial interests. Conclusions: Contemporary concerns about self-diagnosis are part of an ongoing social pattern, which simultaneously promotes diagnosis as means for explaining disease but also protests when the diagnostic explanations originate with the patient.
A pandemia do novo Coronavírus (SARS-CoV-2, o COVID-19) tem sido pauta de discussão nas mídias tradicionais e digitais por todo o mundo. Ansiosa por informações sobre o vírus e seus malefícios, a população recebe e compartilha diversos textos e vídeos sem confirmar a veracidade dessas notícias, o que causa desinformação, medo e estado de caos a todos os receptores. Com o intuito de assegurar uma contribuição científica sobre o tema, o presente artigo apresenta inicialmente uma revisão bibliográfica sobre o SARS-CoV-2 e analisa, também, a utilização do termo “coronavírus” em notícias falsas, as chamadas Fake News. Os resultados apontam para um crescente interesse da população por informações sobre o termo e o combate que vem sendo realizado não apenas pelo Ministério de Saúde do Brasil, mas também por veículos da mídia tradicional para a perpetuação das notícias falsas na internet.
Objectives: Fake news: misinformation and falsehood of health news in social media constitute a potential threat to the public health, but the scope of this issue remains unclear. Our pilot study is an initial attempt to measure a number of the top shared health misinformation stories in the Polish language social media. Methods: Using the BuzzSumo Application, a range of the top shared health web links in the Polish language social media was assessed during the period between 2012 and 2017. We used the following keywords which were related to the most common diseases and causes of death: cancer, neoplasm, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, vaccinations, HIV, and AIDS. Each link was checked for the presence of fake news. Results: 40% of the most frequently shared links contained text we classified as fake news. These were shared more than 450,000 times. The most fallacious content concerned vaccines, while news about cardiovascular diseases was, in general, well sourced and informative. More than 20% of dangerous links from our material was generated by one source. Conclusions: Analyzing social media top shared news could contribute to identification of leading fake medical information miseducating the society. It might also encourage authorities to take actions such as put warnings on biased domains or scientifically evaluate those generating fake health news.
Homens e cuidado à saúde nas representações sociais de profissionais de saúde
  • Siqueira BPJ
Fake news e saúde da pessoa idosa
  • Manso MEG