Indicators of Accurate Health Information on the Internet on the Use of Momordica Charantia in Diabetes Mellitus
Keywords:internet, accuracy, diabetes, Momordica charantia
Abstract*Visual Abstracts prepared by Dr. Princess Landicho-Kanapi
Objectives. The increasing use of the Internet as a source of health information makes the accuracy of such information crucial. An example is the use of the widely advertised bitter melon (Momordica charantia) in treating diabetes despite its unproven efficacy. This study aims to assess the accuracy of websites containing information on bitter melon’s role in diabetes, to search for the presence of the proposed quality indicators, and to determine their correlation with accuracy.
Methodology. An Internet search was used to generate a list of websites. The accuracy of each website was determined by comparing its content with that of a tool that was developed from authoritative sources. The presence of the proposed quality indicators, taken from published guidelines, was then correlated with accuracy.
Results. Of the 158 websites identified, 10 (6.33%) were characterized as “most accurate” and 21 (13.3%) as “somewhat accurate.” The identified indicators of accuracy were the HONcode logo (OR 12.1, p=0.011); the author, identified as a healthcare professional (OR = 6.11, p = 0.008); and a citation from a peer-reviewed medical literature (OR 2.92, p = 0.029).
Conclusion. These findings suggest that most of the Internet-based information on bitter melon’s role in diabetes is inaccurate. The public can use several indicators of accurate information on the use of bitter melon in diabetes to improve health care.
Atkinson NL, Saperstein SL, Pleis J. Using the Internet for Health-Related Activities: Findings From a National Probability Sample. J Med Internet Res 2009;11(1):e4. PMID: 19275980. PMCID: PMC2762768. https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.1035.
Silberg WM, Lundberg GD, Musacchio RA. Assessing, controlling, and assuring the quality of medical information on the internet. JAMA. 1997; 277(15):1244–5. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1997.03540390074039.
Cline RJW, Haynes KM. Consumer health information seeking on the Internet: The state of the art. Health Educ Res. 2001;16(6):671-92. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/16.6.671.
Impicciatore P, Pandolfini C, Casella N, Bonati M. Reliability of health information for the public on the world wide web: Systematic survey of advice on managing fever in children at home. BMJ. 1997;314:1875–9. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7098.1875.
Kim P, Eng TR, Deering MJ, Maxfield A. Published criteria for evaluating health related Web sites: Review. BMJ. 1999;318:647–9. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7184.647.
Fallis D, Fricke M. Indicators of accuracy of consumer health information on the internet: A study of indicators relating to information for managing fever in children in the home. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2002;9(1):73–9. https://doi.org/10.1136/jamia.2002.0090073.
Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children. United States, 2007. Natl Health Stat Rep. 2008;12:1-23. PMID: 19361005.
Bell RA, Suerken CK, Grzywacz JG, Lang W, Quandt SA, Arcury TA. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults with diabetes in the United States. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006;12(5):16-22. PMID: 17017751.
Dahilig VRA, Salenga RL. Prevalence, perceptions and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use in selected communities in the Philippines. JAASP. 2012;1(1):16-24. http://www.aaspjournal.org/pdf_fullpaper/vol01no01_24-32.pdf.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes—2014. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(Suppl 1):S14–S80. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-S014.
Kennedy DA, Seely D. Clinically based evidence of drug-herb interactions: A system¬atic review. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2010;9(1):79–124. https://doi.org/10.1517/14740330903405593.
Gardiner P, Graham RE, Legedza AT, Eisenberg DM, Phillips RS. Factors associ¬ated with dietary supplement use among prescription medication users. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(18):1968–74. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinte.166.18.1968.
Eisenberg DM, Kessler RC, Van Rompay MI, Kaptchuk TJ, Wilkey SA, Appel S, Davis RB. Perceptions about complementary thera¬pies relative to conventional therapies among adults who use both: Results from a national survey. Ann Intern Med. 2001;135(5):344–51. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-135-5-200109040-00011.
Evert AB, Boucher JL, Cypress M, Dunbar SA, Franz MJ, Mayer-davis EJ, et al. Nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(Suppl 1):S120–43. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-S120.
Birdee GS, Yeh G. Complementary and alternative medicine therapies: A clinical review. Clinical Diabetes. 2010;28(4):147-55. https://doi.org/10.2337/diaclin.28.4.147.
Yeh GY, Eisenberg DM, Kaptchuk TJ, Phillips RS. Systematic review of herbs and dietary supplements for glycemic control in diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26(4):1277-94. https://doi.org/10.2337/diacare.26.4.1277.
Leung L, Birtwistle R, Kotecha J, Hannah S, Cuthbertson S. Anti-diabetic and hypoglycaemic effects of Momordica charantia (bitter melon): A mini review. Br J Nutr. 2009;102(12):1703–8. https;//doi.org/10.1017/S0007114509992054.
Molassiotis A, Xu M. Quality and safety issues of web-based information about herbal medicines in the treatment of cancer. Complement Ther Med. 2004;12(4):217-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2004.09.005.
Ogunwale B, Clark J, Young D, Mohammed A, Patil S, Meek RM. Direct to consumer advertising via the Internet: A study of hip resurfacing. Scott Med J. 2009;54(1):10-3. PMID: 19291928. https://doi.org/10.1258/rsmsmj.54.1.10.
Bendale A, Boult TE. Have you seen this logo before and do you know what it means? http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7789506/. Accessed July 7, 2016.
Our commitment to reliable health and medical information. http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Patients/Visitor/visitor.html. Accessed July 7, 2016.
How to Cite
Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International. (full license at this link: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/legalcode).
To obtain permission to translate/reproduce or download articles or use images FOR COMMERCIAL REUSE/BUSINESS PURPOSES from the Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies, kindly fill in the Permission Request for Use of Copyrighted Material and return as PDF file to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
A written agreement shall be emailed to the requester should permission be granted.