Study: 9 in 10 Wikipedia Articles on Medical Conditions Contain Significant Inaccuracies

Wikipedia is one of consumers' top online sources for health information, and about half of physicians admit to having used it as a reference. However, a new study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association suggests the medical information found on Wikipedia is often inaccurate.

Researchers analyzed the Wikipedia entries for 10 of the most costly medical conditions in the U.S. in terms of both public and private expenditures as identified by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: heart disease, cancer, mental disorders, trauma-related disorders, osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma, hypertension, diabetes, back problems and hyperlipidemia.

The researchers and other physician reviewers fact-checked information found in the articles against peer-reviewed medical literature.

The study found "significant discordance" between information presented in nine of the 10 Wikipedia articles and the corresponding medical literature. Just the entry on trauma-related disorders (the Wikipedia article on "concussions") was found to be mostly accurate.

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