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AAIC 2023 | How social media is shaping public opinion on scientific research

Kent Hendrix, BS, Pentara Corporation, Salt Lake City, UT, comments on how unprecedented growth in digital news consumption and social media use is impacting public opinion on scientific topics. Formal data publications and expert commentaries released in peer-reviewed journals are scientifically complex and often inaccessible to the general public. With so much information readily available online, more and more individuals are getting news from digital sources and not from the original authors or other experts in the community. Mr Hendrix and his team looked into the impact of this on the public perception of the recent aducanumab approval, finding that more than 97% of tweets shared about aducanumab around the time of its approval came from outside the Alzheimer’s disease research community. Given the fierce competition to be seen online, many of loudest voices are not scientifically motivated and may have conflicts of interest. Mr Hendrix comments on the importance of taking back the narrative and building public trust in science. There is a need to accurately spread scientific information in a timely manner, so that reliable sources are shaping the public discussion. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC) 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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Kent Hendrix is a principal and Senior VP of Pentara Corporation, a company which consults with dozens of companies in the Alzheimer’s space, including Eisai, Biogen, Lilly, and Nutricia.