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Study Reveals How YouTube Can Save Human Lives

Update Date: Aug 29, 2014 01:29 PM EDT

Social media sites like YouTube have the potential to save human lives- but only if they provide accurate information, researchers said.

Researchers said that only a few CPR and basic life support videos on YouTube present information that is consistent with current health guidelines.

Knowing the correct way to perform CPR and basic life support is essential as early recognition and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest can significantly improve patient survival rate.

For the study, emergency medicine specialists in Turkey reviewed educational videos from the last three years posted on YouTube. They looked specifically at search terms "CPR", "cardiopulmonary resuscitation", "BLS" and "basic life support".

The study revealed that most of the thousands of videos produced by these search results were irrelevant, recorded in languages other than English and accompanied by advertisement. Researchers said they excluded many of these videos and only analyzed 209 YouTube videos.

Researchers found that only 11.5 percent of the videos analyzed in the study provided instructions that were consistent to the 2010 CPR guidelines.

"Although well-designed videos can create awareness and be useful as tools in training, they can never replace hands-on instruction from a properly qualified health practitioner," Paul Middleton, an associate professor and Fellow of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and Chair of the Australian Resuscitation Council NSW, said in a news release.

"People wanting to learn CPR and BLS skills should seek out a properly accredited training course," Middleton added.

The findings are published in the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia.

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