Researching symptoms and health concerns on Wikipedia will lead you to false information most of the time, scientists in the U.S. say.
Scientists compared health information from the online encyclopedia with peer-reviewed medical research. They concluded that 90 percent of the site's health entries they studied contained false information on diseases including diabetes, lung cancer, heart disease and depression, the BBC reported.
Researchers said their findings, recently published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, should encourage people to seek professional medical help instead of relying on the Internet.
"While Wikipedia is a convenient tool for conducting research, from a public health standpoint patients should not use it as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same-peer review process as medical journals," lead researcher Dr. Robert Hasty, from the Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina, said according to the BBC.
Wikipedia, launched in 2001, has been a concern among doctors due to its exposed nature- its pages can be edited by anyone, expert or not.
Scientists took a look at 10 pages for the "most costly" ailments in the U.S., including back problems, osteoarthritis and asthma, according to the BBC. All of the articles were printed and studied in April 2012.
The results showed that nine out of the ten articles had "many errors," as well as outdated medical information.
The study noted that many doctors and medical students use Wikipedia themselves and try to keep track of the mistakes. Still doctors, and Wikipedia, said it's imperative the public stop using the site for reliable medical information.
"It is crucial that anybody with concerns over their health contacts their GP as a first point of call," Stevie Benton from Wikimedia UK, the British version of Wikipedia, told the BBC.
"Wikipedia, like any encyclopedia, should not take the place of a qualified medical practitioner."