Many scientists struggle with translating their research findings to legislative policies and health practices, causing the majority of new findings to remain largely inside the scientific community, researchers said.

With more than 300 million monthly users, Twitter has piqued the interests of many science researchers as a possible tool to publicise new research findings, they said.

Kapp and Brian Hensel, assistant professor at the MU School of Medicine and co-author of the study, found that nearly all health policymakers, or individuals directly related to the actual writing of health legislation, had Twitter accounts, and many use their accounts frequently.

She suggests researchers target their tweets to US Congress members on committees with jurisdiction over health and health care issues, because these individuals may be receptive by how useful the findings are to their political and legislative agendas. Kapp also suggests researchers tweet in an effort to educate policymakers rather than persuade them.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology.