Mining social media data for biomedical signals and health-related behavior

Rion Brattig Correia, Ian B. Wood, Johan Bollen, Luis M. Rocha


Social media data has been increasingly used to study biomedical and health-related phenomena. From cohort level discussions of a condition to planetary level analyses of sentiment, social media has provided scientists with unprecedented amounts of data to study human behavior and response associated with a variety of health conditions and medical treatments. Here we review recent work in mining social media for biomedical, epidemiological, and social phenomena information relevant to the multilevel complexity of human health. We pay particular attention to topics where social media data analysis has shown the most progress, including pharmacovigilance, sentiment analysis especially for mental health, and other areas. We also discuss a variety of innovative uses of social media data for health-related applications and important limitations in social media data access and use.