Friday, December 19, 2008


One more from the WSJ's Health blog -- summary of a recent Microsoft study about how people search for health information: Cyberchondria: it's not just in your head.
Is that burning feeling heartburn or a heart attack? Quick, your brain says to the hand not clutching your chest, type “chest pain” into Google and let’s get to the bottom of this.

What happens next, for many people, is a descent into worst-case scenarios, fueled by the ready availability of information on the Web about medical conditions both rare and common. Obscure or serious medical problems can bubble up to the first page of search results, where anxious searchers can quickly conclude their symptoms result from scary but unlikely causes. Before you can say, “Google,” there’s another case of cyberchondria on the loose.


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