Research notes: the effect of Angelina

The second most popular Pop 2013 health post was to "Angelina Jolie ' Choice Medical' dominates the Internet" (May 14, 2013).  In that article, I emphasized several public health implications of his op-ed that were being discussed in the coverage of the media-

(1) what angelina as a "champion" for the prevention of breast cancer: help to its status of a celebrity or cause damage?
(2) policy and legal problems with BRCA genetic testing.
(3) health (specifically on perception of risk) communication.
(4) to review the evidence base to recommend the BRCA tests or preventive mastectomies.

When health celebrity stories like this are advertised, always keep my eyes peeled to see if any research evaluation or subsequent stories followed.  So I was delighted to see a document published revised last week that examined the impact of his opinion.  Authors of "The Angelina Effect: immediate reach, scope and impact of Going Public", conducted a survey that asked participants to inform their understanding, reactions, perceptions and subsequent history-related activities.  The researchers were particularly interested in the ability of the public to distinguish the genetic context of risk of Angelina for breast cancer of the lower risk that characterizes the majority of women who do not carry a BRCA mutation.

Some key findings:

Approximately 75% of sampled adults were aware of the choice of Angelina to undergo a double mastectomy to reduce your risk of developing breast Cancer.Of those aware of his history, only 3.4% indicated that they had read his opinion piece originally published in the New York Times.  On the other hand, most realized history through national news and local (61.2%) or entertainment (21.5%).Among the respondents who correctly reported risk of Angelina develop breast cancer, less than 10% had the information needed to interpret your risk in relation to a woman affected by the mutation of the BRCA gene.The majority of respondents (80%) did not report the actions related to health (for example, talking to a doctor or a genetic counselor) in the three weeks between the op-ed is publication and implementation of the survey.Conclusions of the authors have important implications for those of us who lead the efforts of communication of health - especially the efforts which intersect with the popular media:"while celebrities can bring greater awareness to issues of health, there is a need for these messages to be accompanied by more useful communication efforts to help the public understand and using complex diagnostic and treatment information transmitting these stories".You wonder that Angelina op-ed did not result in significant changes in knowledge or behavior among readers? should withdraw us 'consciousness' as an objective of public health since it does not often lead to knowledge or behavior change? do since the majority of respondents were not able to distinguish cancer risk of Angelina from women not wearing BRCA gene mutationIt could do more harm than good to the op-ed?This survey was carried out within 3 weeks of the publication of the opinion article; are there any questions that you would see in a long-term follow-up survey?

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