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A Serious Healthcare Concern
|by Dr. Frank S. K. Barar|
The term "Cyberchondria" or cyberchondriasis is derived from the term cyber - and hyperchondria (cyber- means computer network; - chondria is derived from Greek means cartilage). Cyberchondriasis is a growing concern for healthcare professionals as many patients now search for their symptoms and ailments on the Internet, and try to self-diagnose themselves. A 'cyberchondriac' is one who needlessly fears the worst disease after using the internet to self-diagnose an ailment. This then is manifested as needless anxiety.
I would like to present a published case-report by White RW and Horwitz E (2008), Technical Report - MSR-TR-2008-178, pdf, Retrieved 2008, 11-26.
A lady for weeks had been experiencing "twitchings" all over her body. She Googled "muscle twitching". Among the results a page on a university website appeared the disease "Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease" (CJD), which is an incurable fatal brain disease, and lists "muscle twitching" as a symptom. Another listed disease was "Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis" (ALS), which again is a rare fatal disease. She approached her doctor and sadly told him that she had either had CJD or ALS. The doctor then simply diagnosed her as having "Benign Fasciculation Syndrome" (BFS), a medical name for an entirely non-life-threatening symptom.
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