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November 26, 2011

Twitter could be a lifesaver!

WASHINGTON: Could you believe this ~ A social networking site could be a life saver! Twitter, one among the most popular social networking sites could become a new mode of saving lives by providing vital information about health-related matters to its growing number of users.
  
Researchers who studied tweets on cardiac arrest suggest that Twitter represents a unique, promising avenue to respond to queries from the public & disseminate information about this leading killer. The study lead, Raina Merchant said that "Twitter is an incredible resource for connecting & mobilizing people, & it offers users a way to receive instant feedback & information. The potential applications of social media for cardiac arrest are vast." 

"Twitter might even be harnessed to save lives in an emergency, by allowing bystanders who respond to cardiac arrests in public places to seek information about the location of the closest AED (automated external defibrillator)," said Merchant, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Penn University. 

According to a statement, the varsity's Perelman School of Medicine evaluated cardiac arrest & resuscitation related tweets during a month-long period in early 2011. They discovered that users frequently share information about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) & AEDs. 

CPR is an emergency procedure to manually preserve brain functioning until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation & breathing during a cardiac arrest. AED is aportable device that treats life-threatening cardiac conditions with electrical therapy which stops the arrhythmia (erratic heartbeats), allowing the organ to re-establish an effective rhythm. 

In one of the new studies, the researchers identified 15,324 tweets involving cardiac arrest specific information. Of those, 14% referenced cardiac arrest events, with 5% of those messages relating personal experiences with the condition (such as, "when I or a family member/friend had a cardiac arrest") & 9% representing users sharing information relating to arrest locations & treatment interventions & guidelines. 

29% of the tweets referenced CPR performance or AED use, with 23% of those messages involving personal stories about real-life performance of CPR or classroom training in the technique & likes/dislikes regarding CPR/AED courses. 

Nearly 60% of the tweets related to health education - such as advocacy group & training events - & the sharing of cardiac arrest-related news articles about celebrities, athletes & young adults affected by the condition. 
~For more health related tweets you can follow our updates on twitter @KSRealityBites 

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