Twitter can tell us a lot about an individual’s heart health, as per a new study. Being one of the most influential social media platforms, Twitter is used by more than a million people all around the globe. A team of researchers has recently found that tracking the expression of negative emotions like anger, fatigue and stress in the website can help in determining the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers from University of Pennsylvania analyzed 135 million tweets for a year, between 2009 and 2010. They chose the tweets randomly and then noted the messages shared by the users. It was then compared with the data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the researchers could not access the personal medical records of these Twitter users. Result of the analysis showed that a correlation exists between the mortality rates and the sources (place of origin) of these tweets.
Lead researcher and a PhD student in the university, Johannes Eichstaedt, explained that those places where the residents often post Twitter messages regarding hatred, hospitalization and fatigue have a higher probability of experiencing higher mortality rate, particularly owing to cardiovascular problem. On the other hand, those places where the residents’ tweets reflect more positive outlook have lower death rate due to cardiovascular disease.
A number of factors increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases among which negative emotions is a prominent one, which greatly impacts the overall cardiovascular health of an individual. Co-author Gregory Park stated “Twitter seems to capture a lot of the same information that you get from health and demographic indicators. But it also adds something extra. So predictions from Twitter can actually be more accurate than using a set of traditional variables.”