Possibilities and pitfalls of social media for translational medicine

Suzan Dijkstra, Gautam Kok, Julie G. Ledford, Elena Sandalova, Remi Stevelink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We live in an age where the sharing of scientific findings and ideas is no longer confined to people with access to academic libraries or scientific journals. Social media have permitted for knowledge and ideas to be shared with an unprecedented speed and magnitude. This has made it possible for research findings to have a greater impact and to be rapidly implemented in society. However, the spread of unfiltered, unreferenced, and non-peer-reviewed articles through social media comes with dangers as well. In this perspective article, we aim to address both the possibilities and pitfalls of social media for translational medicine. We describe how social media can be used for patient engagement, publicity, transparency, sharing of knowledge, and implementing findings in society. Moreover, we warn about the potential pitfalls of social media, which can cause research to be misinterpreted and false beliefs to be spread. We conclude by giving advice on how social media can be harnessed to combat the pitfalls and provide a new avenue for community engagement in translational medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number345
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2018


  • Patient engagement
  • Research dissemination
  • Science communication
  • Social media
  • Translational medicine
  • Translational research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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