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Surfing the Web for Information on Lumbar Disc Herniation

How good is the information on the Web about lumbar disc herniation (LDH)? Is it accurate? How often do advertisers sponsor the web sites?

There are no standards for medical information on web sites. This study looked at the type and quality of information on the Internet about one medical problem (LDH).

Twenty-five web sites were reviewed for content and origin. Some sites were hospital-based. Groups like the American Medical Association sponsored others. There were university or research clinics (academic) sites. Doctors and commercial suppliers also had sites with information on LDH. Commercial sites offered products or services for sale
to the internet user.

The results from this study are as follows:

  • Half the sites were either commercial or doctor-sponsored.
  • Top scoring sites were commercial, academic, and medical societies.
  • The top 10 sites posted by search engines did not include commercial links.
  • Higher scoring sites tended to show up in the top 10 links from search engines.
  • The majority of sites gave poor information.

    The authors say that consumers can get good information about LDH on the Internet. However, they may have to put up with the sales "pitches" that come with commercial sites. It's best to seek information from a medical society, university or academic site, or doctor's web site. Doctors can help by asking patients what they know about LDH from the Internet. They can also give patients a list of good sites.

    David L. Greene, MD, et al. Lumbar Disc Herniation: Evaluation of Information on the Internet. In Spine. April 1, 2005. Vol. 20. No. 7. Pp. 826-829.


    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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