LA STAMPA

When Doctors Must Treat Healthy Patients Made Ill By The Internet

Italian doctors complain that the prevalence of medical information on the Internet has led a large number of people to come down with imaginary illnesses, some of which they attempt to treat themselves prior to arriving at the doctor's office. B

The word “health” is among the most searched online (jfcherry)
The word “health” is among the most searched online (jfcherry)

Worldcrunch NEWSBITES*

An estimated 12 million Italians say they are affected by a heart attack, tumors, diabetes or tuberculosis. But almost all of these so-called illness are imaginary, or, more specifically, diagnosed by the Web. The word "health" is among the most searched online, but less known is the ailment of having too much medical information available at the click of a mouse.

The figure of 12 million comes from a survey of 900 family physicians across Italy, one which reveals alarming data. Of 1 million patients concerned (scaled up to 12 million when projected to reflect the entire population), 35% arrive at the doctor's office already with a self-diagnosis in hand and 20% percent detail symptoms they have tried to cure using online health sites.

Online sites seem to be putting doctors on the defensive, with 22% lamenting their patients' Web-dependence. Topping the list of imaginary diseases, says Giampiero Pirro, one of the physicians who conduted the survey, are "cardio-vascular disorders such as suspected stroke or heart attack, followed by cancer, diabetes, mental disorders, and, after recent news reports, tuberculosis."

A barrage of health information is helping to form a nation of hypochondriacs, as evidenced by a recent Ipsos survey revealing that 54% of Italians visit the doctor more than 10 times per year.

Though stretched by Web-dependent patients, doctors, nevertheleses, may rely on the Internet themselves. The same survey of 900 doctors found that 76% of physicians use sites specifically aimed at health-care professionals in the course of their work. And 33% may consult the web during the course of a patient's visit.

Read more from La Stampa in Italian

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

Photo - jfcherry

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Colombian Gen Z Wins Battle For The Right To Have Blue Hair At Graduation

A determined student's victory for freedom of hair in conservative Colombia.

Expressing herself

Alidad Vassigh

BUCARAMANGA — It may not be remembered alongside same-sex marriage or racial justice, but count it as another small (and shiny) victory in the battle for civil rights: an 18-year-old Colombian student whose hair is dyed a neon shade of blue has secured the right to participate in her high school graduation, despite the school's attempt to ban her from the ceremony because of the color of her hair.

Leidy Cacua, an aspiring model in the northeastern town of Bucaramanga, launched a public battle for her right to graduate with her classmates after the school said her hair violated its social and communal norms, the Bogota-based daily El Espectador reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ