Did online publishers “get it right”? Using a naturalistic search strategy to review cognitive health promotion content on internet webpages
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Background One of the most common uses of the Internet is to search for health-related information. Although scientific evidence pertaining to cognitive health promotion has expanded rapidly in recent years, it is unclear how much of this information has been made available to Internet users. Thus, the purpose of our study was to assess the reliability and quality of information about cognitive health promotion encountered by typical Internet users. Methods To generate a list of relevant search terms employed by Internet users, we entered seed search terms in Google Trends and recorded any terms consistently used in the prior 2 years. To further approximate the behaviour of typical Internet users, we entered each term in Google and sampled the first two relevant results. This search, completed in October 2014, resulted in a sample of 86 webpages, 48 of which had content related to cognitive health promotion. An interdisciplinary team rated the information reliability and quality of these webpages using a standardized measure. Results We found that information reliability and quality were moderate, on average. Just one retrieved page mentioned best practice, national recommendations, or consensus guidelines by name. Commercial content (i.e., product promotion, advertising content, or non-commercial) was associated with differences in reliability and quality, with product promoter webpages having the lowest mean reliability and quality ratings. Conclusions As efforts to communicate the association between lifestyle and cognitive health continue to expand, we offer these results as a baseline assessment of the reliability and quality of cognitive health promotion on the Internet.
CitationHunter, P. V., Delbaere, M., O'Connell, M. E., Cammer, A., Seaton, J. X., Friedrich, T., & Fick, F. (2017). Did online publishers "get it right"? Using a naturalistic search strategy to review cognitive health promotion content on internet webpages. BMC geriatrics, 17(1), 125. doi:10.1186/s12877-017-0515-3
naturalistic search strategy
cognitive health promotion
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