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Medical Best advise: Don't google .

  1. Aug 6, 2012 #1
    Best advise: "Don't google".

    My grand daughter born 8 weeks ago, showed too much weakness in the upper body. She would not move as other babies would.

    So they tried intensive physiotherapy and exercise and it seems to work out well.

    Anyway in the first dialogue between the doctor and the mother, he said that it could be a number of things, but most of the time physiotherapy proves to be adequate. And whatever you do, don't google.

    There is little doubt that googling will find you the worst possible diagnosis for any symptom and humans are known to be a bit hypochondriac. However diagnosis is a complex process and we tend to fall for confirmation bias so that we are pretty convinced that we have the worst possible illness, where the odds are that we don't

    So I think the best possible advise is "don't google", leave it to the doc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
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  3. Aug 6, 2012 #2

    I like Serena

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Hah, I can believe doctors don't want people to google.
    People ask all sorts of difficult questions that they don't know how to answer.

    I can understand that people may think the worst when that is not applicable, which is not helpful.
    But I also believe that it's good if people can ask critical questions.
    IMO, the only real problem is if the doctor does not have an adequate answer (probably due to lack of knowledge).
     
  4. Aug 7, 2012 #3

    Monique

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I don't know about that. You're right that Googling can scare people more than it helps, but then I also know people who were able to diagnose themselves through information on the internet when the GP or even the internist didn't know what was going on and told them to go home. Further testing in that direction proved the diagnosis and treatment was started.
     
  5. Aug 7, 2012 #4
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Most certainly it's very well possible that some patients can outsmart docs with googling and who can overrule confirmation bias with heuristics and logic, but I think that would be a small minority. Too small not to give that advice. And still yet they may miss trivialities in the medical experiences about common misdiagnoses about which docs are probably much more aware than a random clever patient.

    Edit: coming to think of it, if a doc got to give this advice, she certainly had given that a good thought, which would imply that she has a good googledge (I wonder if I invented a new word here), and awareness of the limitations, which also would imply that she uses that to keep up in the profession.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  6. Aug 7, 2012 #5

    Borg

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I do Google if it's something potentially serious. I have occasionally used it to help me understand better what the doctor has discussed with me. However PF has taught me to be more thorough in my investigations so there's a lot of stuff that I throw away.

    I don't overreact to what I read but my wife seeks out the worst diagnoses and insists on being tested to reassure herself that she doesn't have whatever she's read about. This has led to months long episodes of worrying over tests with results that are close to being outliers. Many times I have had to patiently explain to her not to rely on anecdotal 'evidence' that total strangers post on the internet. She is getting better at not doing this but I still get the occasional email from her at work telling me about the latest horror story. (I need an extreme patience emoticon here). :smile:
     
  7. Aug 7, 2012 #6
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    :approve:

    No of course not, lack of googledge :uhh:
     
  8. Aug 7, 2012 #7

    russ_watters

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I had a short reply that got wiped-out by a forum crash last night. I was going to half-agree while labeling myself the exception, but the more I think about this, the wronger I think the doctor is. My family has been lucky with health, but thinking back about the minor and not so minor bumps in the road, I think doing our own research has been valuable - even lifesaving.

    Yes, not everyone can handle it, but part of a doctor's job is to manage that, not to stifle it. This strikes me as a "do as I say and stop asking me questions" attitude, which is just wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  9. Aug 7, 2012 #8

    russ_watters

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I had a hernia that I was able to self-diagnose, including correctly predicting the repair option. Made for easy doctor visits:

    Doc: What's wrong?
    Me: Pretty sure its a hernia.
    [pause, drop trou, etc.]
    Doc: Yup. I'll write you a surgical consult. Any questions?
    Me: Nope, thanks, seeya.

    My mother also did a lot of pre-internet research on an aortic aneurysm my grandfather had about 20 years ago, which convinced her (then she convinced him) not to follow the local surgeon's advice and have the surgery done in Allentown. That surgeon had a 1:3 success rate -- literally: three attempts, one success -- repairing them and wanted to have his fourth crack at it. My mother did her own research and found an expert in Dallas with much better numbers to do it. May well have saved his life.
     
  10. Aug 7, 2012 #9

    Monique

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Doctors aren't all-knowing creatures and can't always keep up with literature. A doctor didn't suspect hypomagnesemia, until the patient showed him the following FDA communication http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm245011.htm

    The same with vitamin B12 deficiency, it's not on the top of a doctor's mind if the patient isn't a vegetarian/vegan. A friend of mine diagnosed herself with severe B12 deficiency, while her internal medicine doctor was out of options for her symptoms.

    A certain amount of critical thinking and self education can be healthy.
     
  11. Aug 7, 2012 #10
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I agree that perhaps a majority of people should not google, but that anyone who thinks critically and scientifically SHOULD google.

    My personal experience is I used google to "diagnose" myself. The doctor was surprised, as it was something he personally hadn't encountered, but agreed that we should test in that direction. The tests then came back negative. I guess I fell for the "worst case scare", but it was still rational.
     
  12. Aug 7, 2012 #11

    Ryan_m_b

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Modern GPs (or equivalents) really can't be expected to make an accurate diagnosis of everyone, especially given the common symptoms that most people present with. This is why you get occasional [strike]scare[/strike] news stories of "MAN DIES OF BRAIN TUMOUR AFTER DOCTOR DIAGNOSES HEADACHE!!!11!!1!" (with a smaller number of real negligence). So checking your symptoms intelligently can often be a good way of helping a doctor along, especially if in doing so you find some family history.
     
  13. Aug 7, 2012 #12

    Evo

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I wouldn't trust a doctor that would tell a patient not to "google" symptoms or procedures. If the patient is a hypochondriac, it might be a nuisance, but even a hypchondriac can get it right.

    After listening to so many people having success at helping their doctor's find the correct diagnosis, or avoiding a wrong diagnosis/treatment. I decided to also start checking trustworthy medical sites. I would print out the information from the journal/article and give it to the doctor, along with a brief bit about why I thought it may be the problem. My doctor would read and say, "this one I already rulled out last month when your blood tests came back and your "ABC" levels were normal", or "oh, I think this could be it, I wasn't aware..."And we'd follow that path, and sure enough, that was it.

    I not saying not to trust your doctor and argue with everything they suggest, but you should try to educate yourself about conditions you or your loved ones have, and if you feel the diagnosis/treatment is wrong or not working, discuss it with your doctor, take print outs of what you read so he can see it. Don't make him have to go looking for something you read somewhere. Obviously if your information is from "miracle cures the government won't allow your doctor to tell you", don't be suprised if he doesn't seem convinced.
     
  14. Aug 7, 2012 #13

    Pythagorean

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Andre, you can't give medical advice here!

    :P
     
  15. Aug 7, 2012 #14

    Monique

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    And of course it's wonderful that the physiotherapy and exercise is working out :smile:
     
  16. Aug 7, 2012 #15
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Oh yes been exercising her this afternoon. pulling her to sit with the hands, let her fly so she has to keep her head up. roll on the skippy ball. Things like that.

    Really the advise is only to prevent making mountains of mole holes.
     
  17. Aug 7, 2012 #16

    sophiecentaur

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    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    Googling can be a very good thing unless you are tempted to tell the Doctor what to do. I have yet to meet a doctor who doesn't appreciate the fact that I keep informed. (Of course, no one likes a smartarse; doctors included)
    Googling recently did me a lot of good because it found me a brilliant surgeon at Guy's Hospital who has done a great job. I got much better treatment than I was getting at my local hospital - all thanks to my getting informed!
     
  18. Aug 7, 2012 #17
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    yeah but only really serious stuff. I mean how would you like it for a guy to have a foot pain from standing for a long time and going to the emergency room just because he thinks he has a fracture.
     
  19. Aug 9, 2012 #18
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I think googling is good for people who don't go to the doctor because they decide their symptoms aren't serious.

    Sounds like you and your granddaughter are having fun :) I'm glad she's well.
     
  20. Aug 10, 2012 #19
    Re: Best advise: "Don't google".

    I had a mysterious illness that I ended up self-diagnosing. See http://camoo.freeshell.org/allergies.html
    By googling and looking on Medline, I found there's a lot of evidence for local allergies, i.e. you can have an allergy to something even though allergy tests are negative. This could happen because the allergy is local to a particular organ, like the nose - or perhaps an excess no. of mast cells takes up all the IgE in the blood.
    It seems the allergists I saw weren't keeping up with the research. A common problem with doctors it seems. States in the United States require about 12-50 hours of continuing medical education per year ... that cannot even HOPE to keep up with medical research. No requirement for a set # of CME hours in my state.
    I don't know that I have what researchers call local allergies, it might be some non-IgE mechanism. It wasn't just googling, I did a lot of personal experiments to find out what was going on.
    Doing one's own research might be especially relevant with allergy problems, since the immune system seems to be very complicated and not very well understood, and people can observe their own reactions to the environment.
    Laura
     
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