Tech UPTechnologyTwitter predicts risk of heart disease

Twitter predicts risk of heart disease

Obviously, Twitter is a thermometer of the social climate , but, as an interesting study by the University of Pennsylvania shows, it is also a thermometer of the mental and physical health of its users.


By tracking the “trills” of a certain area, they have discovered that there is a clear correlation between the manifestations of anger, stress and fatigue with the risk of heart disease. And on the contrary: the abundance of tweets that express enthusiasm and optimism coincide with a lower incidence of these disorders, the number one cause of death on the planet.


The research, carried out by the team of experts in psychology and computation that forms the World Well-Being Project , helps to establish a connection that is difficult to verify empirically: the influence of mental well-being on bodily health. The harmful effects of hostility and depression, for example, have long been known, since these moods also lead to unhealthy behaviors such as alcoholism, isolation or poor diet.


The microblogging social network, where people record their complaints and concerns, provides in this sense a very valuable tool to visualize it.


Experts have compared the statistics of coronary heart disease and deaths from this cause in 1,300 counties in the United States – 88% of the country – and have compared them with tweets that could be geolocated , which have been subjected to a linguistic analysis to detect emotional expressions.


And, surprisingly, the maps coincide: where words like “hate” or similar abounded, there were more deaths from heart ailments, while if terms such as “wonderful” or “friends” stood out, the opposite happened.


Photo: University of Pennsylvania


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