Mining Twitter Hashtags for Bad Drug Interactions

Over the years, its not been uncommon to get asked what value I see in Twitter. While my typical answer revolves around the value I get from it personally (keeping up, observing trends, sharing items of value, healthy stimulation from the seemly random sharing from others), this article, “New Role for Twitter: Early Warning System for Bad Drug Interactions” from the University of Vermont, provides an example of something pretty compelling from the academic realm.

And the research team also aims to help overcome a long-standing problem in medical research: published studies are too often not linked to new scientific findings, because digital libraries “suffer infrequent tagging,” the scientists write, and updating keywords and metadata associated with studies is a laborious manual task, often delayed or incomplete.

“Mining Twitter hashtags can give us a link between emerging scientific evidence and PubMed,” the massive database run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Hamed said. Using their new algorithm, the Vermont team has created a website that will allow an investigator to explore the connections between search terms (say “albuterol”), existing scientific studies indexed in PubMed — and Twitter hashtags associated with the terms and studies.

Correlating the use of hashtags to potential real world events, in this case drug interactions, can create a potential early warning system that can feed other more traditional practices. This brings to mind related things like Google’s monitoring of flue trends, where public health institutions can also benefit–not just paid advertisers.

I suppose a better answer to the value question should include the exciting thought of what innovation is to come.


One on One with JB Holston of NewsGator

From this article in Fierce Content Management… (Source)

The market has moved very rapidly. The preponderance of the Global 2000 have structured enterprise social initiatives today. Organizations see changing their collaboration paradigm from document- or artifact-centricity, to people-centered, as a vital competitive advantage. Companies talk to us about their need to ‘roll out the social fabric’ as broadly and quickly as possible. They understand that their workforce now expects to work that way, and that the advantages to ‘social’ increase exponentially as a function of the number of people who have access to the capability.

CIO: Execs Get Ready: Workers Will Soon Be Running Companies

From this CIO article… (Source)

Depending on the situation, it could take three, five or even 15 years for corporate managers to realize that the traditional corporate hierarchy no longer works, as younger, tech-savvy workers increasingly call for and use enterprise-level social collaboration tools. … “They need to understand what a collaborative organization really looks like. They need to give an appropriate amount of resources and attention to changing the way they were doing things in the past,” she added.

Business Week: The Most Important People in Your Network

From this Business Week article… (Source)

Employees that were rated as more innovative didn’t have bigger networks; rather, they had more bridging ties—ties that connected them to other employees who were themselves not connected.

If we are circulating too much with people we have known forever or people who themselves are all spending time in the same meetings and interactions, then we are not getting the performance impact we can from social-media tools. Bigger is not better. The magic lies in the new ideas and perspectives that can come from connections into different networks.