Chia Seeds ... Who knew?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Re: Beware of online medical advice!

You know "Dr. Google," don’t you? He’s become the go-to guy for most folks wondering whether that odd and slightly painful bump on the shoulder is something to worry about... if queasiness that won’t quit might be a side effect of that new medication... or whether a headache that started a day and a half ago actually might be a lethal brain tumor.

New research shows that 80% of regular Internet users now go online with their questions about health and medicine -- it’s easy, fast and free, and there’s a wealth of information. Most of us benefit greatly from having so much excellent information at our fingertips. But for some of us, online health information can become an obsession that turns us into "cyberchondriacs" who are not only tedious to sit next to at dinner parties but who actually end up suffering acutely from psychological distress.

Being constantly worried about your health is a hallmark of the complex psychological syndrome doctors call hypochondriasis. For people with hypochondriac tendencies, being able to go online to rapidly gratify an urgent "need" for medical information can spiral out of control. They have an addiction-like difficulty controlling this behavior -- getting answers may help them feel calm for a little while, but the anxiety returns and so back they go to their computers. It never ends, and it makes life miserable for them and -- it must be said! -- for the people close to them.

For the expanded version go to, (continued) at: