Following on from the previous post, here are some recent articles and links about how the social media juggernaut is changing the world of health.

• Here’s how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used social media to spread HIV messages. And more like that at the CDC’s YouTube channel.

The Economist looks at research investigating relationships between social networks and disease outbreaks.

• This interactive map from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations gives an overview of tobacco control laws across the US. It’s an idea that could be adapted to many causes. I wonder what an Australian map evaluating local governments’ actions to create physically active environments might look like, for example?

• How is the online world changing the scientific peer review process, the communication of science to the public and contributing to user-led scientific innovation? These are some of the questions addressed in a theme issue of the Journal of Science Communication.

• The online revolution is empowering patient advocacy and more links to related articles about what some are calling “Patient 2.0” are here. Meanwhile, pharma stands accused of mining patients’ social media networks.

• Pharma and the medical industry more broadly are also using social media in more obvious ways to advance their marketing agendas. In the US, Allergan has launched a social media campaign promoting its lap-band weight loss surgery. Its “C.H.O.I.C.E.” campaign (“Choosing Health over Obesity Inspiring Change through Empowerment”) features a video contest for lap-band patients, in which12 winners of which will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC – to lobby Congress for increased access to the surgery. The contest asks lap-band patients to submit a short essay or video about their weight-loss experience and how it has impacted their lives and health. Allergan is asking visitors to campaign websites to sign a petition asking Congress to recognize that “Obesity is not a choice – it’s a disease,” and that “With less invasive procedures available (like gastric banding), weight-loss surgery has the potential to be a catalyst for change in the health of our citizens and the financial stability of our healthcare system.” Campaign sites include and

• The Mayo Clinic has set up a blog to enable patients and staff to share stories.

• This slideshow has plenty of examples of how the not-for-profit sector is using Twitter, Facebook etc.

• Nearly 2 million people have watched this YouTube video on the social media revolution (pumped up by Fatboy Slim).

Another presentation – on health brands and social marketing in the US – from Pew Internet, a project of the Pew Research Center.

• Why this journalist from The Independent loves Twitter. (Because it’s friendly and it’s a news service, and more…)

• But don’t forget the ‘old ways’ for disseminating health news and research, cautions University of NSW researcher Ben Harris-Roxas.

• Meanwhile, thanks to this blog for the tip-off about a fraccas at The Lancet as a senior editor is sacked.

• Announcing, sadly, the demise of the Effect Measure, a public health blog in the US, “after 5 and a half years, 3 million visits and 5.1 million page views”. The final post has a stack of links to other public health blogs. The anonymous editor, Revere, will continue to contribute occasional posts to The Pump Handle, but has decided to focus on other priorities, ie research.

• Meanwhile, for those with an interest in public housing and disability (and if those aren’t critical health issues, then I don’t know what is), here’s a blog providing a frontline perspective.

• And finally, this blog by a primary care doctor in the US offers “10 rules for good medicine”. These include:
1. It’s the Patient’s Visit (ie it’s about the patient’s health, not the doctor’s income or ego).
2:  Minimise (to counter the “better is more” mentality frequent amongst both doctors and patients)
3: Relationship = Better Care (This means that the patient knows the doctor and trusts them, and the doctor knows the patient.)
The list goes on…they seem like pretty good rules, with universal application. If I was a book publisher, I would be thinking that this is a blog that might translate nicely into a book…

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