Web searches feed health fears

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.

Source - BBC

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