Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have decided to see if there's any correlation between Twitter trends and heart health. The study will be funded by a $668,000 grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
The research will be a follow-up to a study conducted by Penn researchers in February. The previous research found that language used on Twitter can closely estimate the cardiovascular risk at a community level.
Dr. David Asch of the Center for Healthcare Innovation believes the research is a great opportunity to understand what people think about health issues such as cardiovascular health. “It just seemed like a great way to learn what people were saying, thinking, and communicating about health issues -- in this case heart disease -- and that provides an opportunity to correct misunderstandings, to learn what people are thinking about, and perhaps even in the future think about communication approaches that might even improve heart health,” Asch said in a statement.
Asch said one-fifth of the world's population uses a social media platform -- and their posts reveal something about their health. Tweets that are observable by all seem to be a more viable option for the research, because Facebook comes with a lot of privacy settings, he said.
If the research is successful, researchers hope to find ways to improve the general population's understanding of heart-related issues.