Online Diagnosis Dangers

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Story Updated: Jul 30, 2012

How many of you are guilty of having a headache...firing up the computer in search of a diagnosis...and deciding you have a brain tumor?

It's more common than you think.

A new study, just published in the Journal of Consumer Research, suggests you're more apt to convince yourself you're sicker than you are...all because of what you find on the internet.

Researchers in Hong Kong compiled evidence from six different web-based experiments. Participants were asked to estimate the likelihood that they or someone else had one of several diseases based on common symptoms.

Ultimately, most people who searched for health information about themselves overestimated the likelihood of having a serious or deadly disease. The reason? They focused on their symptoms while ignoring the small chance that the symptoms actually indicated something serious.

The study however showed we're much more accurate at assessing other people's symptoms...and are less apt to over blow medical concerns in our friends.

Since this web diagnosis trend continues to grow, public health officials urge you to visit a doctor when you are sick.

A physician is trained to diagnose diseases of all kinds...without help from the web.

I'm dr Cindy Haines of Healthday TV, with the information you need to protect your health.

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