About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Internet Can Trigger Anxiety Among Users: Study

by VR Sreeraman on November 26, 2008 at 12:56 PM
Font : A-A+

 Internet Can Trigger Anxiety Among Users: Study

Playing doctor on the Web often leads people to mistakenly believe that they are suffering from rare illnesses, according to a study by researchers at Microsoft.

"Web search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns," or "cyberchondria," Ryen White and Eric Horvitz wrote in the study published by the Redmond, Washington-based software company on Monday.

Advertisement

They described cyberchondria as "unfounded increases in health anxiety based on the review of Web content."

White, an expert in text mining, Web search and navigation, and Horvitz, another Microsoft researcher who is president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, noted that the Internet provides an "abundant source" of medical information.
Advertisement

"However, the Web has the potential to increase the anxieties of people who have little or no medical training, especially when Web search is employed as a diagnostic procedure," they said.

"Common, likely innocuous symptoms can escalate into the review of content on serious, rare conditions that are linked to the common symptoms," they said.

For example, Web surfers with a headache may determine they have a brain tumor or those with chest pain that they are suffering a heart attack.

"A brain tumor is a concerning possibility when a searcher experiences headache," the researchers said. "However, the probability of a brain tumor given a general complaint of headache is typically quite low."

"Such escalations from common symptoms to serious concerns may lead to unnecessary anxiety, investment of time, and expensive engagements with healthcare professionals," White and Horvitz said.

The researchers said the study was aimed at "improving the search and navigation experience for people turning to the Web to interpret common symptoms" and determining "the challenges that cyberchondria presents for search engine designers."

Microsoft's Live Search engine provided the Web search results for the study and MSN Health and Fitness (health.msn.com) provided medical search results.

The researchers also surveyed the health-related search experiences of 515 individuals.

According to other studies cited by the researchers, eight in 10 American adults have searched for healthcare information online.

Source: AFP
LIN
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Anxiety Disorder Agoraphobia Asperger´s Syndrome Stress Relief Through Alternative Medicine Hyperventilation Bereavement Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Xenophobia Tourette Syndrome Placebo Effects: Rare Insights 

Recommended Reading
Anxiety Screening Test
Are you anxious to know your anxiety level? Use Medindia's Anxiety Screening Test, a simple online ....
Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterised by the patient avoiding spaces, crowds, or ......
Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder involves excessive worry about actual circumstances, events or conflicts. Anyone ca...
Asperger´s Syndrome
Asperger’s Syndrome or (AS) is a neurological condition marked by delay in the development of motor ...
Bereavement
Bereavement refers to grief, pain and sadness following the loss of a loved one, especially during t...
Hyperventilation
Hyperventilation occurs when a person breathes in excess to the body’s requirement....
Placebo Effects: Rare Insights
Placebo response is now generally well accepted. ‘Placebo response’ is the friend of the clinician a...
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is a mental condition triggered by a traumatic event. PTSD tr...
Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder wherein the affected person makes repetitive and s...
Xenophobia
Xenophobia can be studied from two different perspectives. First as a medical condition ‘phobia’ sec...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use