Press-Republican

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 | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014