Neurology and the Internet: a review
Nowadays, the Internet is the major source to obtain information about diseases and their treatments. The Internet is gaining relevance in the neurological setting, considering the possibility of timely social interaction, contributing to general public awareness on otherwise less-well-known neurological conditions, promoting health equity and improving the health-related coping. Neurological patients can easily find several online opportunities for peer interactions and learning. On the other hand, neurologist can analyze user-generated data to better understand patient needs and to run epidemiological studies. Indeed, analyses of queries from Internet search engines on certain neurological diseases have shown a strict temporal and spatial correlation with the “real world.” In this narrative review, we will discuss how the Internet is radically affecting the healthcare of people with neurological disorders and, most importantly, is shifting the paradigm of care from the hands of those who deliver care, into the hands of those who receive it. Besides, we will review possible limitations, such as safety concerns, financial issues, and the need for easy-to-access platforms.
KeywordsHealth policy Infodemiology Internet Neurological disorders Online searches
A preliminary draft of this paper has been written on the occasion of the Italian Conference of Neurology (Naples, October 14–17, 2017) where a special session on the Internet in Neurology entitled “DIGITAL HEALTH, WEB E SOCIAL MEDIA IN NEUROLOGIA” was held. We hereby thank chairs and speakers of that session (F. Ruggiero, L. Leocani, L. Gabaglio) and all those who attended and contributed to an inspiring discussion.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
No funding was received related to the preparation of this article.
F.B. has received speakers’ honoraria from Eisai and PeerVoice, payment for consultancy from Eisai, and travel support from Eisai, ITALFARMACO, and UCB Pharma.
Other co-authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.
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