Your social network status can reveal a lot about your health. Through a fascinating work, a team of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have reported that it is possible to predict the prevalence of heart disease by analyzing individual tweet.
The team found that, as far as the occurrence of heart disease is concerned, twitter predicts it the best and provides better results than analyzing prominent heart disease risk factors like smoking, obesity, income, education and diabetes.
Previous work showed that tweeter tracking comes handy while tracking flu.
This present work is a part of a huge attempt to introduce large amount of data without conducting expensive and tedious surveys. Twitter can be a fast and effective tool to understand the public health status and at the same time, it enables the policymakers to come up with the required measures, added lead author of this research, Johannes Eichstaedt.
In this study, tweets sent across 1,300 U.S. counties between years 2009-2010 were analyzed by the scientists with the help of specific word filters and algorithms.
The tweets were then sorted by subjects like hate, hostility and boredom. Following this, the team examined the death rate data of coronary heart disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings suggest that the tweets expressing negative emotions like anger and anxiety corresponded to the higher cardiac death rates. Tweets with positive emotions correspond to the lower cardiac death rates.
It’s been long known that constant irritation causes release of more stress hormones which plays an important role in the development of heart disease.
“But the people sending all those negative tweets aren’t the ones dying from heart disease; the median age of Twitter is below the median U.S. population, Eichstaedt added. And on average tweeter users are never at risk of developing heart disease.
Basically tweets expressing negative emotions mark the overall stress level, a community undergoes presently. Analyzing these tweets is probably the best way to understand the general psychological profile of the society, noted the researcher.