The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Community News Network

June 18, 2013

Facebook's organ donor status sends registrations soaring

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook's addition of a way for its users to tell people their organ-donor status helped boost the number of people who registered as donors 21-fold in one day.

Two weeks after the social networking website set up the profile information on May 1, 2012, the rate of new organ donors was still climbing twice as fast as before, according to a paper published Tuesday in the American Journal of Transplantation.

Organ donation has long been an interest of Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Menlo Park, Calif.- based Facebook. Demand for organs far outpaces the number of donors, with more than 118,000 Americans waiting for a life- saving transplant, according to the Department of Health & Human Services. An average 18 people die daily waiting for an organ.

"There's a real emotional reward for doing the right thing and telling people about it, and that leads to the best kind of peer pressure," said Andrew Cameron, a study author, and the surgical director of the liver transplant program at Johns Hopkins Medicine, in a telephone interview. "You hope it's contagious."

The study compared the number of Facebook organ donor profile updates from May 1, 2012, to May 28, 2012, with the organ donor registration data for 43 states and the District of Columbia. Data was unavailable for Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and West Virginia.

The first day the field was available, almost 60,000 users updated their organ donor profile. On the first day of the initiative, there were 13,000 new online organ donor registrations, a 21-fold increase over the baseline registration rate of 616 people a day. There were a total of almost 40,000 new organ donors registered over the course of the first 13 days, or almost 33,000 more people registering than usual. The number of new updates per day decreased to 538 on May 13.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014