(NaturalNews) Relying on Wikipedia for honest and legitimate information about health and wellness is a recipe for intellectual failure, suggests a new study recently published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA). Researchers from multiple academic institutions across the U.S. found that up to 90 percent of Wikipedia entries related to health contain one or more major errors, exposing the site as a corporate propaganda machine.
The team collected articles on 10 of the "most costly" conditions in the U.S., which included osteoarthritis, coronary artery disease, lung cancer, major depressive disorder, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, lung cancer, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and back problems. Using a blinded process, two randomly assigned researchers were chosen to investigate each of the articles for accuracy, identifying all of their assertions and comparing them to the latest peer-reviewed medical research.
What they found is that 9 out of 10 articles contained major errors when compared to the latest peer-reviewed data. In other words, false information routinely makes it past Wikipedia's information gatekeepers, even though the site's co-founder Larry Sanger is on record as claiming that the faux encyclopedia resource accurately covers the latest published science.
"[I]f you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately," wrote Jimmy Wales in a heated response to a Change.org petition calling for more honest scientific discourse in Wikipedia entries.
Wikipedia exec admits popular website 'is not about truth'
As far as the latest study looking at Wikipedia's medical entries in general, the consensus is that Wikipedia is outdated at best, and blatantly dishonest at worst. Patients looking for accurate information about a particular health issue would do best to look elsewhere, discovered the researchers, as Wikipedia simply isn't the reliable information source that many people think it is.
"The present study demonstrated that most Wikipedia articles on the 10 most costly conditions in the United States contained assertions that are inconsistent with peer-reviewed sources," revealed the authors. "Because our standard was the peer-reviewed published literature, it can be argued that these assertions on Wikipedia represent factual errors."
Then again, Wikipedia has never been about publishing the truth, at least according to Dr. James Heilman, president of Wiki Project Med Foundation, the non-profit wing of Wikipedia that deals specifically with medical content. In his denial of the study's findings, Dr. Heilman admitted that Wikipedia is not a website for finding truth.
"Wikipedia is not about truth but about verifiability," admitted Dr. Heilman to BBC News.
This is a critical statement, as it reveals what Wikipedia is truly about. Since the site remains blatantly hostile to "alternative" and holistic medicine -- that is, anything that contradicts the corporate agenda spoon-fed to the masses -- it makes sense that an arbitrary standard of "verifiability" is upheld over actual truth.
"Health care professionals, trainees, and patients should use caution when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care," concluded the study. "Our findings reinforce the idea that physicians and medical students who currently use Wikipedia as a medical reference should be discouraged from doing so because of the potential for errors."
You can access the study in its entirety for free here: JAOA.org.
You can also sign the petition calling on Wikipedia to stop censoring cutting-edge science here: Change.org.