Tag Archives: Wikipedia

Can Wikipedia medical articles kill you?


According to a recent study, words might pack way more of a punch than sticks and stones if you’re seeking medical advice.

The study reviewed a number of Wikipedia articles on common medical conditions and found that around 90 per cent of the articles contained errors.

Now this is in itself a worrying state of affairs, but according to the study it gets worse:

‘47% to 70% of physicians and medical students admitting to using [Wikipedia] as a reference,’ the study says.

That basically means that your doctor might be using Wikipedia as a reference for finding out what’s wrong with you – and how to treat it. Scary, huh?

Especially if you look at the advice that the people behind the study gave to the BBC.

A side note:

The study was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Now I don’t know if it’s a case of Wikipedia wanting to get its own back, but the on-line lexicon’s description of osteopathy includes the following:

‘The practice of osteopathy does not always adhere to evidence-based medicine (EBM). There are few high-quality research studies demonstrating that osteopathy is effective in treating any medical condition other than lower back pain.’

So people who don’t always adhere to evidence-based medicine carried out a statistical analysis….I’m sure there’s irony there somewhere, but I’m just not sure where it is…..