Presenting Highlight HEALTH 2.0

I’ve written previously about my desire to explore the use of web 2.0 in health and medicine. Two months ago, I created a page on the Highlight HEALTH Web Directory to index articles that discuss web 2.0 in health, fitness and medicine.

… Then I realized my mistake.

No blog. No RSS. Why was I writing articles on web 2.0 and not using the tools?

I alluded to this issue when I introduced The Highlight HEALTH Network, an aggregation of feeds from Highlight HEALTH and the Highlight HEALTH Web Directory.

Accordingly, I’m pleased to present Highlight HEALTH 2.0, a blog focused on following web 2.0 in health and medicine. My intention is to develop an article resource discussing social networks and health, and to catalog a series of reviews written by myself and guest writers, describing various health-focused social networks and what they have to offer. Since I believe health-focused social networks can affect patients the same as real-life social networks, offering the information as an additional resource to a web directory of quality health-related websites seemed appropriate.

Social Networks and Health – The Research and the Reviews

I’ve been increasingly interested in health-focused social networks. Why? Because several recent scientific studies have found that real-life social networks are quite relevant to health. Indeed, a study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated a large social network of over 12,000 people over 32 years to assess the person-to-person spread of obesity [1]. The study results suggest that friends, siblings and spouses have an even greater effect on a person’s risk of obesity than genetics.

What’s interesting is that this type of research is being done now, when the use of web 2.0 services facilitating collaboration and sharing between users on the internet is thriving. We’re witnessing an explosion of social networking sites, many of which are focused on health.