i-sense and UCL researchers Vasileios Lampos and Ingemar Cox, together with Microsoft and i-sense collaborator Elad Yom-Tov delivered a tutorial on "Learning about health and medicine from Internet data" at the WSDM 2015 international conference on 2nd February 2015.
It is estimated that 80% of all UK internet users, and 70% of US internet users, search for information about health.
People seek this information using both traditional search engines and via social media. The information created using the search process offers an unprecedented opportunity for applications to monitor and improve the quality of life of people with a variety of medical conditions.
In recent years, research in this area has addressed public health questions such as the effect of media on development of anorexia, developed tools for measuring influenza rates and assessing drug safety, and examined the effects of health information on individual wellbeing.
Through this tutorial, the researchers presented how internet data can facilitate medical research, providing an overview of the state-of-the-art in this area. They discussed the information which can be gleaned from a variety of internet data sources, including social media, search engines, and specialised medical websites and provided an overview of analysis methods and how results can be evaluated using publicly-available health information and online experimentation. Finally, they discussed ethical and privacy issues and possible technological solutions.
For a copy of the tutorial slides, click here.
WSDM is one of the premier conferences covering research on search and data mining on the web. WSDM 2015, the Eighth ACM International Conference, took place in Shanghai, China from 31st January - 6th February 2015.