Slatterz introduces us to the first major study on "cyberchondria" by Microsoft researchers (abstract, paper [PDF]). The news that it can be a bad idea to search the Internet to see if you have a terrible disease should come as no surprise. According to the NYTimes article, the syndrome has been known as "cyberchondria" since at least the year 2000 (we discussed it a few years back). It refers to increased anxiety brought on when people with little or no medical training go searching for answers to common medical complaints on the Web. The article compares cyberchondria with a phenomenon well known among second-year medical students, called "medical schoolitis." The researchers note that Web searchers' propensity to jump to awful conclusions is "basic human behavior that has been noted by research scientists for decades."
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