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Cataloguing Treatments Discussed and Used in Online Autism Communities.

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Cataloguing Treatments Discussed and Used in Online Autism Communities.

Proc Int World Wide Web Conf. 2017 Apr;2017:123-131

Authors: Zhang S, Kang T, Qiu L, Zhang W, Yu Y, Elhadad N

Abstract
A large number of patients discuss treatments in online health communities (OHCs). One research question of interest to health researchers is whether treatments being discussed in OHCs are eventually used by community members in their real lives. In this paper, we rely on machine learning methods to automatically identify attributions of mentions of treatments from an online autism community. The context of our work is online autism communities, where parents exchange support for the care of their children with autism spectrum disorder. Our methods are able to distinguish discussions of treatments that are associated with patients, caregivers, and others, as well as identify whether a treatment is actually taken. We investigate treatments that are not just discussed but also used by patients according to two types of content analysis, cross-sectional and longitudinal. The treatments identified through our content analysis help create a catalogue of real-world treatments. This study results lay the foundation for future research to compare real-world drug usage with established clinical guidelines.

PMID: 28736777 [PubMed]

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