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Medical News & Perspectives
September 3, 2008

Academic Medical Centers Embark on Public Outreach Through the Internet

JAMA. 2008;300(9):1015. doi:10.1001/jama.300.9.1015

Scientists have teamed up with an unlikely partner—an online video community that is more well-known for posting and sharing originally created clips of funny home videos, stupid pet tricks, and more—to engage the public and the medical community in a concerted effort to search for the causes and potential treatments for diseases.

One of the most extensive efforts is being conducted by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center. To increase awareness among patients, physicians, and the general public about various degenerative brain conditions, including Alzheimer disease, frontotemporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Huntington disease, and Parkinson disease, researchers there decided to turn to a venue that already attracts millions of viewers per day, the video-sharing Web site YouTube, to create the UCSF YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/UCSFMemoryandAging). The goals of this venture include promoting earlier diagnoses, enlisting more patients in clinical trials, and providing information and support to the caregivers of patients with these conditions.

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