Health information online is breeding a generation of cyberchondriacs - people who needlessly fear the worst diagnosis after surfing the net, say researchers.
A team at Microsoft studied health-related Web searches on popular search engines and surveyed 515 employees about their health-related searching. Web searches had the potential to escalate fears - like a headache was caused by a brain tumour, for example.
Experts said people concerned about their health should see a doctor.
Self-diagnosis by search engine
Microsoft conducted the study to improve its own search engine.
Roughly 2% of all the Web queries were health-related, and about 250,000 users, or a quarter of the sample, engaged in a least one medical search during the study.