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Social media helps with increased organ donations

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Today Facebook has over 1.1 billion users.  Social media in general, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, has been found to have many uses, including medical applications for patients. Dr. Kevin Campbell discusses the power of social media in medicine, specifically organ donations, on WNCN Today.

Today, nearly 120,000 people are actively waiting for organ transplants and are listed on United Network for Organ Sharing. However, only 29,000 organ transplants were performed in 2012.  The demand far exceeds the supply for suitable organs for patients who need a transplant for survival.

About 90 percent of Americans say they support organ donation, but only 20 percent have taken the necessary steps to be a donor.  The rate of registered donors has remained static over the last 20 years while the numbers of those waiting for a transplant have increased.

To be an organ donor is quite simple. You can register when you go to the DMV and renew a driver's license or you can go online to Donate Life North Carolina.

Facebook is actually helping to increase organ donors. Researchers at Johns Hopkins recently published a study on the effect Facebook had on registration rates for donors.  The Social networking site allowed users to make their organ donor status public on its site in May of 2012. The first day the status update was available, more than 13,000 people registered to be donors with their DMV. The average number of new registrations in a day is 600.

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