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Cyberchondriacs Hog Internet Searches

Internet users are desperate for health data


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The Washington Post recently reported on a study done by the Pew Internet Project, which records internet data. The study found that eight of 10 internet searches involves health related issues. The article then discusses how for many people the internet has become the place they turn to for a second opinion on their medical issues.

People most commonly look up diseases, treatments and doctors, often on behalf of a child or other dependent.

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The article explains how the use of mobile devices on the internet affect what people look for.

"Yahoo, for example, reports that 'pregnancy,' 'herpes' and 'STD' (sexually transmitted diseases) are among the top five searches performed on the mobile version of their site," the study says. "These topics do not appear at all among the top five health searches for the non-mobile versions of either Yahoo or Google."

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But doctors often have mixed feelings about patients who arrive to their offices with reams of internet research on their specific problem, not all of it accurate. Last year, Time wrote a story on a doctor's dismissing these patients as cyberchondriacs.


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