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Internet health advice 'potentially dangerous'

30th July 2009

Using a website as a source of health information rather than a book could be 'potentially dangerous', according to a leading industry expert.

Pharmacologist at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale Florida Kevin Clauson told the New Scientist: 'My overall impression is that the quality of health information varies wildly, almost ridiculously wildly.

'If [a website] is treated as an authoritative source, and there's evidence that it isn't, then it's potentially dangerous.'

His comments follow the publication of Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project report last month, which found that the majority of Americans will look online for health information.

The research also found that 20 per cent of internet users that had looked online for health advice had also contributed comments, reviews and updates.

Co-author of the report Susannah Fox said that users are beginning to treat the internet as a substitute for traditional sources of information.

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