Back pain? Cough? Don't Wikipedia your symptoms - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Back pain? Cough? Don't Wikipedia your symptoms

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Researchers found Wikipedia entries they studied contradict medical research for peer-reviewed journals a whopping 90 percent of the time. (Source: CNN) Researchers found Wikipedia entries they studied contradict medical research for peer-reviewed journals a whopping 90 percent of the time. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - A lot of us are probably guilty of this at one time or another - having a medical condition or sickness and instead of going to the doctor, we hop online to look up what we think it is.

It turns out that this may not be the best thing to do, and a new study says this is especially true if you use Wikipedia.

The study, just published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, tested the reliability of the crowd-sourced entries on the Wikipedia page.

Researchers looked at the 10 most costly medical conditions in the country, like lung cancer, back pain and osteoarthritis.

They found the Wikipedia entries contradict medical research for peer-reviewed journals a whopping 90 percent of the time. Information on nine out of the 10 entries had errors.

But it's not just those of us at home who are using it. The study also found that 47 to 70 percent of physicians and medical students use it as a reference.

So, not surprisingly, the researchers conclude caution should be used when using websites for any medical questions.

CNN has reached out to Wikipedia for comment about the study. And in an article for The Atlantic, it's noted that Wikipedia has its own peer-review process for articles. And one of the editors for the site says that even as Wikipedia's quality improves, patients should always use professionals to get the best recommendations.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

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