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In the UK getting an appointment with a GP can be a struggle. Many adopt a seemingly “make them fight for it”policy including only being able to call and make an appointment on the same day. People are of course then more likely to look up their own issue online, both on Google and Wikipedia. Even doctors and medical students use it too, said a report in the Independent newspaper last week. Scientists have warned however that the online world contains many errors in its entries, and should be used with caution.
The researchers in the US analysed the online entries for 10 well known conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, back pain, and asthma on a single day last year. Despite Wikipedia being monitored by medical volunteers for accuracy, they found that in 9 of the conditions there was medical advice and entries that contradicted modern medical thinking and research.
So, try the doctor instead of panicking when the internet tells you that your cold is actually a flesh eating slug.
By Robert Adam Atkinson