Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Report: Patients Seek Information from Internet Nearly as Much as from Doctors

No surprise here. Often one can get answers more quickly than the waiting list time it takes many to actually get in to see their doctor. I know that with my family and friends, by the time we make it to the doctor's office (a month later?) the issue is often resolved...often from information off of chat boards or sites like Hey, I didnt say it was the best practice, but that is how it goes. Although the issue of mental health was not addressed in the study, I am sure it also reflects the liklihood of increased number searching out information on Mental Health issues as well., yesterday released the findings from a 2007 Consumer Medical and
Health Information poll
, commissioned by and conducted by Harris
Interactive. The study demonstrates that adults now rely on the Internet as a
primary source of health-related information nearly as much as they rely on
their primary doctors. Seventy percent of adults are now turning to the Internet
as one of their primary resources for medical and health information, surpassed
only slightly by their personal physician (72 percent). Results also cited the
Internet as a far more popular resource for health information than traditional
media outlets such as newspapers/magazines (30 percent), television (26 percent)
and books (25 percent) -- even surpassing friends and family (40 percent) as a
source to find the medical information people seek.Additional findings from the
Harris survey include:
Knowledge is Power: It's all about being informed. 73
percent of adults expressed a desire to be more informed about their personal
health, as well as the well-being of friends and family. Even those born well
before the Internet generation (ages 55+) feel the medium has helped them
diagnose and better understand their condition (76 percent).
That's What
Friends are For: Two-thirds of Americans search to help them diagnose or better
understand a condition (71 percent), and more than half of adults reporting
doing the same for friends and family members (55 percent).
For Your Eyes
Only: Adults aged 18-34 are still embarrassed when it comes to sharing personal
health information, and 21 percent noted they turned to the Internet for
privacy, stating that they were just too embarrassed to talk to anyone about
their medical or health issues.
What's the Alternative: Nearly 30 percent of
adults (28 percent) reported leveraging the Internet to find alternative (e.g.,
homeopathic) treatment options.
This survey was conducted online within the
United States between July 5 and July 9, 2007 among 3,389 adults (aged 18 and
over). Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and
race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their
actual proportions in the population. The data was also weighted to be
representative of the online population of U.S. adults on the basis of Internet
usage (hours per week) and connection type.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Baby Educational Videos May Be Harmful, Slow Development

Yahoo News! is reporting that educational videos currently gobbled up by parents in hopes of giving their children a educational head start may be failing. This is not the sort of study a parent wants to read about- especially if they have been in the practice of plopping their baby down in front of the television for some well- endorsed educational time. Every parent hopes to give their child the best developmental start. Some hope for a boost with these types of products.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Recordings that claim to stimulate baby brain development may actually slow vocabulary development in infants if they are overused, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

For every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants aged 8 to 16 months understood an average of six to eight fewer words than babies who did not watch them, Frederick Zimmerman of the University of Washington and colleagues found.

Older toddlers were not harmed or helped by the videos, the researchers reported in the Journal of Pediatrics.

"The most important fact to come from this study is there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVDs and videos, and there is some suggestion of harm," Zimmerman said in a statement.

"The bottom line is the more a child watches baby DVDs and videos, the bigger the effect. The amount of viewing does matter."

Zimmerman and colleagues conducted random telephone interviews with more than 1,000 families in Minnesota and Washington with babies and asked detailed questions about television and video viewing.

Parents of the 8- to 16-month-olds were asked how many words like "choo-choo," "mommy" and "nose" their child understood. Parents of the toddlers were asked how many words like "truck," "cookie" and "balloon" their children knew.

"The results surprised us, but they make sense. There are only a fixed number of hours that young babies are awake and alert," said Andrew Meltzoff, a psychologist who worked on the study.

"If the 'alert time' is spent in front of DVDs and TV, instead of with people speaking in 'parentese'-- that melodic speech we use with little ones -- the babies are not getting the same linguistic experience," Meltzoff added.

"Parents and caretakers are the baby's first and best teachers. They instinctively adjust their speech, eye gaze and social signals to support language acquisition. Watching attention-getting DVDs and TV may not be an even swap for warm social human interaction at this age. Old kids may be different, but the youngest babies seem to learn language best from people."

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute who worked on the study, said parents frequently asked him about the value of such videos.

"The evidence is mounting that they are of no value and may in fact be harmful," Christakis said.