Researchers at the University of Rochester have now been able to use Twitter to predict how likely it is for a Twitter user to become sick. After data analysis, the inferred pattern of disease spread led to the creation of an app showing the context of sick people with predictions of up to 8 days of future health at a 90% accuracy rate.
Health geeks and Yelp restaurant reviewers, rejoice: A new machine learning system automatically datamines Twitter for food poisoning outbreaks.
Can Twitter be mined for information on food poisoning outbreaks? One Google data scientist thinks so. Adam Sadilek led a team at the University of Rochester that developed Nemesis (PDF), a machine learning system which asks “which restaurants should you avoid today?”
Using a set of keywords, Nemesis mines Twitter for geolocated posts that could be indicative of foodborne illness. In tests, tweets from New York were datamined and had metadata added indicating restaurants within 25 meters that were open at the time the user tweeted. A team of humans recruited via Mechanical Turk then came up with 27 words and phrases indicating food poisoning—things like “My tummy hurts,” “stomachache,” “throw up,” “Mylanta,” and “Pepto-Bismol.” Nemesis then assigned health scores to the nearby restaurants based on the proportion of food poisoning-inferring tweets.
The kicker for Sadliek’s experimental project is that the scores assigned to restaurants closely matched Health Department data: The inferred health scores from Nemesis correlated with the Health Department’s NYC letter grades for restaurants. According to Popular Science's Shaunacy Ferro, the paper will be presented at the Conference on Human Computation & Crowdsourcing in November.
More Americans Using Mobile Apps in Emergencies
Red Cross poll shows social media and apps motivate people to prepare
Americans are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile devices during emergencies to provide information, useful tools and a way to let loved ones know they are safe, according to a new survey conducted by the American Red Cross.
Mobile apps now tie social media as the fourth-most popular way to get information in an emergency, following TV, radio and online news. The Red Cross survey found that 20 percent of Americans said they have gotten some kind of emergency information from an app, including emergency apps, those sponsored by news outlets and privately developed apps.
(From American Red Cross)
NPIN’s In the Know: Twitter for Public Health Webcast 2013
by CDC NPIN on Feb 20, 2013
Slides from the first of six interactive webcasts in the series, In the Know: Social Media for Public Health. Each webcast focuses on a different social media channel and provides basic information, tips, success stories, and discussion on how best to use social media to promote public health and expand outreach initiatives.
(From CDC National Prevention Information Network- CDC NPIN)
- Need to get up-to-speed on the latest in social media for public health?
- Want to more effectively use social media for outreach, collaboration, or campaign promotion?
- Have questions about specific social media channels?
Then NPIN’s In the Know webcast series is designed for you! In the Know: Social Media for Public Health is a series of six webcasts, each focusing on a different social media channel and providing basic information, tips, and hints for how to use them to meet your needs.
The webcasts are live events and will include presentations and an interactive section so you can ask questions and share information. The webcasts will be archived for viewing at a later date. Join us for the following sessions and spread the word to your colleagues.
With over 50 Twitter accounts and 18 Facebook pages, it’s no secret — the CDC sees value in social media. Through just a handful of sites, they can reach and hear from millions.
“And that’s really the value and beauty of social media,” said Amy Heldman, the team lead for social media at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “It’s another way to disseminate information, one, and two, it’s a really great way to engage with our audiences.”
The CDC regularly updates its website with social media guidelines and their own best practices for health communicators to reference, and social media has become increasingly present at the CDC’s annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media.
Social media and teen pregnancy
This summer the CDC released its most recent verified data on teen pregnancy — nationally, from 2009 to 2010 the number of teen moms dropped 9 percent to roughly 34 girls in every 1,000. However, that number varies dramatically from state to state, so while certain regions saw significant declines others saw an increase. These national numbers have left some health communicators searching for new, better ways to reach teens.
The CDC suggests social media.
“Last year we worked with the division of reproductive health at CDC to create a teen pregnancy social media toolkit,” said Heldman, “to collect all of our social media digital content around teen pregnancy and put it one place.”
Michael J. Paul and Mark Dredze analyzed two billion Tweets for relevance to health information and then compared the results to data from the Centers for Disease Control. They demonstrated that Twitter can accurately track the spread of influenza, the peak of allergies and predict how diseases spread and change over time. Their research suggests new uses for big data.