Letter to the Editor: Can YouTube® Disseminate Dementia Knowledge to Sinagpore Chinese?

| July 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Benjamin K.P. Woo, MD

Funding/financial disclosures: The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this letter. No funding was received for the preparation of this letter.

Dear Editor:

A community-based epidemiological survey has suggested that the prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia is approximately 15.2 percent in Singapore Chinese.[1] While early detection of dementia might improve treatment outcomes, poor perception and understanding of dementia remain significant barriers among the Chinese lay public in Singapore.[2] Moreover, Chinese-speaking individuals might dismiss pathological decline of dementia as part of normal aging.[3] Recent studies have demonstrated the feasibility of YouTube® in disseminating health knowledge to the Chinese-speaking general public.[4-7] Here, we report the performance of YouTube dementia videos in targeting Singapore Chinese who are in the high-risk age group (e.g. aged 45 years or older) of developing dementia. Institutional review board approval was not necessary because data contained no information that could be linked to specific individuals.

A board-certified psychiatrist was invited by a Chinese television station for two educational talk shows in Cantonese, which covered topics centered on dementia background, management, and prevention. The real-time recording was then uploaded to YouTube as two 25-minute videos within a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/kpwoo). The sample of this study included viewers from Singapore who have watched the videos during the first four-year period. Using YouTube analytics, the recorded parameters included number of views, watch time, age of viewers, and average view duration (AVD).

Between January 2014 and January 2018, the YouTube videos were viewed by 783 people, with a total watch time of 4,629 minutes. Most viewers watched the content using wireless devices, including mobile phones (56.7%, n=444) and tablets (22.2%, n=174). Among the 783 viewers, 157 (20.1%) were 65 years of age or older, 274 (35.0%) were between 55 and 64 years of age, 164 (20.9%) were between 45 and 54 years of age, and 188 (24.0%) were 44 years of age or younger.

The targeted age group at risk of developing dementia (aged 45 years or older) accounted for 76.0% (n=431) of the total viewers. These viewers had an AVD of 8.91 minutes, which was 50.8 percent longer than the overall AVD of 5.91 minutes.

To our knowledge, there have been no reports of using YouTube to disseminate dementia knowledge to Singapore Chinese. YouTube effectively outreached the videos to the targeted age group of viewers aged 45 years or older. Furthermore, older viewers had a longer average view duration, suggesting that the YouTube videos were able to capture the attention of older viewers. Although this preliminary study was limited by the lack of a control group, our findings suggest that YouTube is a potentially effective method to disseminate dementia education to Chinese-speaking individuals in Singapore.


  1. Hilal S, Ikram MK, Saini M, et al. Prevalence of cognitive impairment in Chinese: epidemiology of dementia in Singapore study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013;84: 686–692.
  2. Tan WJ, Hong SI, Luo N, et al. The lay public’s understanding and perception of dementia in a developed Asian nation. Dement Geriatr Cogn Dis Extra. 2012;2:433–444.
  3. Woo BK, Mehta P. Examining the differences in the stigma of dementia and diabetes among Chinese Americans. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2017;17:760–764.
  4. Lam NH, Tsiang JT, Woo BK. Exploring the role of youtube in disseminating psychoeducation. Acad Psychiatry. 2017;41:819–822.
  5. Woo BK. Dementia health promotion for Chinese Americans. Cureus. 2017;9:e1411.
  6. Zheng X, Woo BK. E-mental health in ethnic minority: A comparison of youtube and talk-based educational workshops in dementia. Asian J Psychiatry. 2017;25:246–248.
  7. Lam NH, Woo BK. Exploring the role of YouTube in delivering dementia education to older Chinese. Asian J Psychiatry. 2018;31:25–26.

With regards,


Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Science, University of California, Los Angeles, California

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Category: Drug Development, Letters to the Editor, Neurology, Past Articles, Trial Methodology

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