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Coverage of genomic medicine: information gap between lay public and scientists

Authors Sugawara Y, Narimatsu H, Fukao A

Received 6 May 2012

Accepted for publication 13 June 2012

Published 2 August 2012 Volume 2012:5 Pages 83—90

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S33661

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Yuya Sugawara,1 Hiroto Narimatsu,2,3 Akira Fukao2,3

1Department of Medical Informatics, Graduate School of Medical Science, Yamagata University, Yamagata, 2Advanced Molecular Epidemiology Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Yamagata University, Yamagata, 3Department of Public Health, Yamagata University Graduate School of Medicine, Yamagata, Japan

Abstract: The sharing of information between the lay public and medical professionals is crucial to the conduct of personalized medicine using genomic information in the near future. Mass media, such as newspapers, can play an important role in disseminating scientific information. However, studies on the role of newspaper coverage of genome-related articles are highly limited. We investigated the coverage of genomic medicine in five major Japanese newspapers (Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, Sankei, and Nikkei) using Nikkei Telecom and articles in scientific journals in PubMed from 1995 to 2009. The number of genome-related articles in all five newspapers temporarily increased in 2000, and began continuously decreasing thereafter from 2001 to 2009. Conversely, there was a continuous increasing trend in the number of genome-related articles in PubMed during this period. The numbers of genome-related articles among the five major newspapers from 1995 to 2009 were significantly different (P = 0.002). Commentaries, research articles, and articles about companies were the most frequent in 2001 and 2003, when the number of genome-related articles transiently increased in the five newspapers. This study highlights the significant gap between newspaper coverage and scientific articles in scientific journals.

Keywords: coverage, personalized medicine, mass media, newspaper

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