Washington: YouTube is not just helping people watch latest football World Cup highlights, it has also become a popular ground for researchers, journals and health advocates to connect directly with the public on topics of skin cancer and prevention.
A new study queried YouTube for search terms related to dermatology including "sun protection, skin cancer, skin cancer awareness and skin conditions".
Results included 100 videos with a cumulative 47 million views. The videos were shared a total of 101,173 times.
"No matter what field you are in, social media is the future of how we communicate around the world," said Chante Karimkhani, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado`s school of medicine.
"Through social media, journals can have their own presence - their own mouthpiece directly to the public that may include patients or health care providers or even other researchers," Karimkhani noted.
For example, of the videos returned with the search query "skin cancer", 25 percent were educational and another 25 percent were what the researchers considered "complementary and alternative medicine videos".
Overall, only 35 percent of videos across all dermatology search terms were uploaded by or featured a biomedical professional.
In the field of dermatology, researchers see great promise in speaking directly to consumers of social media.
The study appeared in the Dermatology Online Journal.