Social Networks Proliferate Urological Health Misinformation

Reno, Nevada (UroToday.com) -- Patients are turning to social media channels more and more frequently to learn about urological health, but the quality of information is highly variable and misinformation is prevalent. In fact, the most viewed videos about testosterone therapy and urinary tract infections feature home remedies versus consultation from a licensed healthcare provider.

Researchers will be presenting on these and similar social media trends at the 117th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Stacy Loeb, MD, a professor of urology and population health at New York University (NYU) and the Manhattan Veterans Affairs Medical Center, will moderate a press session featuring the following four abstracts at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on May 13, 2022, at 1 p.m. CT. 

Zhenyue Huang, MD, from Stony Brook University Hospital, studied the prevalence of misleading YouTube videos about UTIs and the dominance of home remedies versus videos featuring a urologist. “Urinary Tract Infection on Social Media: Examining YouTube Content As a Source of Patient Educational Information

Dr. Huang and Justin Dubin, MD, from Northwestern University, investigated the quality of information for testosterone therapy on social media channels with their respective studies, “Systematic Evaluation of YouTube Content on Testosterone Therapy: The Proliferation of Bro-Science” and “The Broad Reach of Social Media as a Health Resource for Testosterone Information

Black and Hispanic men remain underrepresented on YouTube and TikTok, and high-risk racial groups are not discussed in most videos despite the importance of screening criteria, according to recent research by Max Abramson, MD, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Accuracy and Racial/Ethnic Representation of Prostate Cancer Screening Videos on YouTube and TikTok

“These abstracts showcase that social networks such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are widely used as sources of information about urological health, including urinary tract infections, testosterone and prostate cancer screening,” said Dr. Loeb. “However, the quality of information is highly variable and misinformation is prevalent. It is important for the public to be aware that popular online posts may not be accurate and to ask their healthcare providers for trusted sources of information.” 

About the American Urological Association:  The 117th Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association takes place May 13-16 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology and has nearly 24,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.

Source: American Urological Association. (2022 May 14). Social Networks Proliferate Urological Health Misinformation [Press release].

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