You Tube as a Source of Information for Irritable bowel Syndrome: a Critical Appraisal

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Introduction: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is estimated to affect 11% of the population globally with a significant female predominance. IBS appears to afflict all age groups and socioeconomic conditions, thus making it a disease that permeates a very large part of society. While often debilitating, only 30% of those with IBS will indeed visit their physician. In an era dominated by social media, it is no surprise that 40% of all consumers report that online information affects the way they deal with their health. YouTube is one of the top 5 most accessed online resources for medical information. The strong reliance on online information as well as the rising prevalence of IBS has prompted us to determine the educational quality of IBS YouTube videos. Methods: We performed a YouTube search using the keywords “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” from September 3-25, 2016. The top 297most viewed videos were included and analyzed for characteristics, source, as well as content. The source was classified as healthcare provider, alternative medicine provider, patient and/or parents, company, media, or professional society. Content was further classified as medical professional education, advertisement, personal experience, patient education, alternative treatment or increase awareness. A scoring system was designed based on current accepted guidelines from multiple professional and academic societies to evaluate quality (-10 to +25 points). Negative points were assigned for misleading information. Videos were also scored by a global quality score. Six blinded reviewers were asked to view the videos and score each video independently. Results: A total of two hundred and ninety-seven videos were analyzed, with a median of 6,671 views, 25 likes, and 2 dislikes. Females were most commonly depicted (36.4%). The most commonly depicted race was White/Caucasian (62.0%). Among video sources, alternative medicine was most represented (32.3%) with treatments that included water fasting, yoga, hypnotherapy, frequency healing, massage therapy, and essential oil therapy. The least represented source was professional societies such as hospitals (5.4%). Mean scores were statistically different from each other (pConclusion: YouTube videos on IBS are mostly produced by alternative treatment sources with often controversial treatments that did not align with Page 16 2017 Appalachian Student Research Forum current evidence based guidelines. Furthermore, videos from healthcare professionals provided better and more accurate quality of information compared to other sources.


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