July 13, 2010; Source: MinnPost.com | When it comes to researching information on the Web on sports related injuries and treatment, who are you going to trust? According to a new survey, you’d be wiser—and perhaps healthier in the long run—believing what you find published on nonprofit sites.
Citing a study that appears this month in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, MinnPost.com says internet sites operated by nonprofits “offer the most comprehensive and unbiased information, while commercial sites tended to be the most incomplete, often failing to mention the risks or complications of the treatment associated with the site’s sponsor.” These findings were based on a review of 154 websites conducted by three-person teams of orthopedic surgeons. They evaluated how information on 10 most common sports medicine diagnoses were presented.
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The list included the kinds of things people are most likely to research online, such as tennis elbow, shoulder separation, knee pain and rotator cuff tear. While nonprofit sites scored the highest, academic sites came in second, followed by some commercial sites that don’t sell products, such as WebMd and eMedicine.
In addition to knocking some of the commercial sites for poor quality of information, the study also slammed some for “directly selling diagnosis-related products or were sponsored by companies that sold products related to the diagnosis and included (unsupported) content that suggested that these products were a preferred approach to treatment. Furthermore, approximately 20 percent of the total websites retrieved with our searches were ‘sponsored’ commercial sites. This may result in the most biased information being at the top of the search results for any given topic.” A word to the (health)wise—don’t let bad information trip you up, or you may really need doctor after that.—Bruce Trachtenberg