A team from Inje University Busan Paik Hospital’s Department of Dermatology at the Inje University College of Medicine in Busan has published a report on the subject in the Annals of Dermatology medical journal.
Low accuracy scores for media reports on hair loss
The Inje University dermatologists noticed that, as more people become interested in reading about hair loss, they are increasingly obtaining their information from the media, rather than from doctors or hair specialists. Therefore, it is obviously crucial that the media is accurate in its reporting, given its effect on public opinion, however, this is not always the case.
In order to investigate just how prevalent mis-reporting of hair loss problems is, the team studied a range of print and online newspapers to assess the content and reliability of their alopecia-related articles.
It is important to note here that the word ‘alopecia’ simply means ‘hair loss’; it is not the name of a specific hair loss condition, though is often used as shorthand for the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata. As regular readers of Belgravia’s hair loss blog will know, in our experience misuse of this term – ‘alopecia’ – is a common occurrence in media articles regardless of the type of hairloss being discussed, and is often a source of confusion for its audience – and this is precisely what the Korean team discovered.
After studying articles on alopecia from the past three years, taken from the ‘most frequently subscribed or circulated newspaper in each group’ – one group being newspapers from print and online publishers, the other being online-only publications – the authors came to the following conclusion…
“Most articles in each group used the general term “alopecia” instead of naming a specific hair loss disease. The majority of articles were based on consultation with experts. Assessment of the accuracy of articles with three grade scales showed that the percentage with high accuracy was 38.9%, 47.2%, and 23.3%. Assessment of reliability scores for five selected articles in each group showed that there were statistically significant differences between common readers and dermatologists (p<0.05).”
Closer monitoring of media reporting required
With their findings reporting such low levels of reliability of information about hair loss, particularly among readers from the general public who these articles are aimed at, it is perhaps unsurprising that the researchers called for “closer monitoring of the media” in order to “supply easily accessible, balanced, and trustworthy information regarding alopecia”.
Belgravia Centre hair specialists are often contacted by members of the press who are researching articles regarding all manner of issues, from Male Pattern Baldness and Female Pattern Hair Loss to Postpartum Alopecia. Whilst this is generally to provide expert quotes about hair loss for their pieces, whether this is regarding specific conditions, hair growth treatments or prevention, sometimes it is also for the journalist’s own information purposes, so they feel better informed about the subject they are covering.
This is an approach we very much welcome and are happy to help with wherever possible, in order to reduce the misinformation surrounding such an emotional subject.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.