Multiple sclerosis coverage in the written media of a low prevalence country

Simón Cárdenas-Robledo, Cristian Eduardo Navarro, Claudia M. Guío-Sánchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Awareness in the community is an important factor across a wide range of diseases and the communication media have an important role in its promotion. However, misinformation and misguide may take place heightening the expectations of people affected by chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). This study explores media coverage of MS in a low prevalence country. Methods: We identified the most important written media at national and local levels and performed a search in their digital archives and social media with the words "Multiple Sclerosis". The articles found were categorized as relevant, and non-relevant. We describe the total number, number of relevant and non-relevant articles published every year, since the earliest found until 2018. We identified the topics covered by the relevant articles and described their distribution and performed a quality evaluation of their content. Results: We reviewed the archives of 20 sources. A total of 976 articles where MS was mentioned were reviewed (relevant: 143 [14.6%]; non-relevant: 833 [85.4%]). We observed a steady increase in the annual publication rate, from the first in 1991 up to 107 in 2018. The most frequent covered topic was disease modifying therapies and MS itself, and the least documented topic was rehabilitation. Most of the relevant articles had low quality scores. Conclusion: The media coverage of different topics MS has risen steadily since its first appearance in the early nineties. This should be encouraged, but caution should be held so misinformation is not propagated. We call for the public to discuss misleading information with their healthcare providers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102266
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Volume44
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Access to information
  • Communications media
  • Medical journalism
  • Multiple sclerosis

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