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Researchers Use Twitter To Track Diseases And Public Health Issues

A researcher has used social media to track attitudes about vaccination and how they correlate with vaccination rates, in the process creating a novel model to track a variety of disease states.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that social networking can be used to track diseases and other natural disasters that affect public health. Earlier this year, researchers used Twitter to track rapidly-evolving public sentiment about H1N1 influenza, and found that tweets correlated with actual disease activity. Before that, researchers analyzed how Twitter was used to disseminate information (and misinformation) about flu trends.

In the latest study, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Nurse’s Life Changed By Twitter

Dear @Twitter,

I so totally know how this sounds to write to a service, but I must confess: your little wings have changed the trajectory of my life and – for the most part – I think it’s been for the best.

I’ve been around for over 40 years, have seen many things, met all sorts of people and have – mostly – enjoyed my life. But I think every several hundred years, a tiny and almost insignificant tool comes out of nowhere and changes the world – like the wheel and zero, both of which are truly “nothing” (both are each shaped the same way). And yet the each not only changed the course of civilizations but also created them. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Phil Baumann*

Twitter Used To Gauge The Nation’s Mood

A team from Northeastern University and Harvard Medical School has been analyzing words used in tweets by American users in an attempt to gauge the public mood around the country.

What they discovered was that users on the West Coast seem to be quite a bit jollier than those on the East Coast. It’s not clear whether the data was collected during the summer or winter months and accordingly adjusted, for that surely would affect the readings.

Researchers were able to infer the mood of each tweet using a psychological word-rating system developed by the National Institute of Mental Health’s Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention. The system ranks words based on how they make people feel. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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