We are aware that much information on the Internet is false. We often forget this fact, however, when we consult the Internet for our health concerns. After all, who will you turn to when nobody in your house is a medical expert, and you’re feeling something strange or painful in your body? As for me, my primary response when I feel something weird in my body is to go Google it. Unsurprisingly, researchers warn us of Googling about health symptoms and medical advice, as the information we usually find on the search results are often inaccurate. The study is published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
The study analysed 36 international mobile and web-based symptom checkers and found they produced the correct diagnosis as the first result just 36 percent of the time, and within the top three results 52 percent of the time.
The research also found that the advice provided on when and where to seek health care was accurate 49 percent of the time.
It has been estimated that Google’s health related searches amount to approximately 70,000 every minute. Close to 40 percent of Australians look for online health information to self-treat.
Lead author and ECU Masters student Michella Hill said the findings should give people pause for thought.
More details about this study over at Neuroscience News.
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