Investigating biomedical research literature in the blogosphere: a case study of diabetes and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)

J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 Jan;100(1):34-42. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.100.1.007.


Objective: The research investigated the relationship between biomedical literature and blogosphere discussions about diabetes in order to explore the role of Web 2.0 technologies in disseminating health information. Are blogs that cite biomedical literature perceived as more trustworthy in the blogosphere, as measured by their popularity and interconnections with other blogs?

Methods: Web mining, social network analysis, and content analysis were used to analyze a large sample of blogs to determine how often biomedical literature is referenced in blogs on diabetes and how these blogs interconnect with others in the health blogosphere.

Results: Approximately 10% of the 3,005 blogs analyzed cite at least 1 article from the dataset of 2,246 articles. The most influential blogs, as measured by in-links, are written by diabetes patients and tend not to cite biomedical literature. In general, blogs that do not cite biomedical literature tend not to link to blogs that do.

Conclusions: There is a large communication gap between health professional and personal diabetes blogs. Personal blogs do not tend to link to blogs by health professionals. Diabetes patients may be turning to the blogosphere for reasons other than authoritative information. They may be seeking emotional support and exchange of personal stories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Bibliometrics
  • Blogging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Blogging / trends
  • Data Mining
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • PubMed
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data*


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • glucosylated hemoglobin A