Viewpoint article by André Boorsma, TNO
Google has just announced a remarkable initiative searching for medical information. Instead of their page-ranking algorithm, a method determining the importance of a website based on numbers and quality of links is used, and medical information will be part of the knowledge graph (http://googleblog.blogspot.nl/2015/02/health-info-knowledge-graph.html); boxes of basic information posted at the side of the search results. This information is compiled, curated and reviewed carefully by a team of medics, according to Google product manager Prem Ramaswam who leads the project. This is a very good initiative, given recent discussion about measles vaccination in the US, which was fuelled by misinformation that is widespread online.
Reliable information is essential. This is especially true for information about food, diet and nutritional advice. Robust sources of food and nutrition information are available, but sometimes hard to find. One of the ambitions of QuaLiFY is to provide access to scientifically validated data. A field-lab has been set up in the Netherlands providing personal dietary advice for type-2-diabetics. The dieticians involved are interested specifically in accessing standardized, scientifically validated nutritional advice, which they can use as a foundation of their work. QuaLiFY is working hard to build a platform where scientific validated information about diet and health, particularly nutritional advice, are available. In the future, this may be the basis for Google’s information about food and nutritional advice.