Google can help doctors to diagnose tricky cases

Using Google, the Internet search engine, can help doctors diagnose tricky cases. Researchers have said that a team of Australian doctors googled the symptoms of 26 cases for a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. In 15 cases, the web search came up with the right diagnosis. The paper has been published in the British Medical Journal website reports. In each of the 26 cases studied, researchers based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane selected three to five search terms from each case and did a Google search without knowing the correct diagnoses. They recorded the three diagnoses that were ranked most prominently and selected the one which seemed most relevant to the signs. The doctors then compared the results with the correct diagnoses as published in the journal. Google searches found the correct diagnosis in just over half of the cases. These included (CJD) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the hormonal condition Cushing’s syndrome and the auto-immune disorder Churg-Strauss syndrome. The team led by Dr Hangwi Tang, a respiratory and sleep physician, stated that Google could be a aid, useful for diagnosing for conditions with unique symptoms and signs that can easily be used as search terms.


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