ONLINE INFORMATION: DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH?

January 14, 2008

Google searches for health information may be leading to dangerous medical decisions, according to the authors of a new report from the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

According to the authors:

  • Some 65 percent of the first three pages of search results came from sites which were biased or contained unverified information.
  • Nearly half of the first three pages of search results belonged to lawyers and attorney referral services seeking plaintiffs for class action law suits.
  • No official regulatory pages or professional medical organizations appeared in the inventory of results. 

"For millions of Americans, Google has replaced the family physician. People trust, and make decisions, based on the information they find online," said Robert Goldberg, Vice President of CMPI.  "With few exceptions, the information we found appeared legitimate but had no medical authority whatsoever.  In many cases, we found lawyers posing as medical experts."

Source: "Online Information: Dangerous to Your Health?" Reuters, January 8, 2008.

For text:

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS217515+08-Jan-2008+PRN20080108

 

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