Cerminara C, El Malhany N, Siracusano M, Roberto D, Coniglio A, Curatolo P and Galasso C
Background: Headache is one of the most common disorders in childhood. Internet-based health resources are growing in popularity, as most of users resort to it in order to get health-related information. We evaluated the quality of information concerning childhood headaches provided by the Internet.
Method: Website quality was rated by a team of three paediatric neurologists (PNs), and by three lay subjects (LS) without any medical or neurological knowledge, using the DISCERN tool.
Results: With regard to the PNs evaluation: considering 39 websites, 7,7% proved to be fairly reliable, 2,5% was found to provide good quality information on treatment options, 7,7% showed good overall quality of the content. With regard to the LS evaluation: 7,7% of the websites proved to be fairly reliable, 17,9% was found to provide good quality information on treatment options, 7,7% showed good overall quality of the content.
Conclusion: Internet-based information about childhood headaches is not completely reliable considering both the opinion of expert and not professional subjects. Although the Internet may become a useful tool for health-related purposes, thus providing accessible, interactive and customized information, it should be enhanced by greater relevance, better description of treatment choices and more clarity of sources. Implications of these findings are discussed.