by John Summerly
May 6, 2012
John Summerly is
nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner.
He is a leader in the natural health community and
consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of
children on the benefits of complementary therapies for
health and prevention.
As more people become distrustful of pharmaceuticals and
conventional medicine, many are going online to self-diagnose rather
than waiting for a doctor's appointment. More than 78% of men and
women seeking health advice from the internet can properly diagnose
their condition in less than 8 minutes.
Andrew Liu, head researcher for
the Online Diagnosis Project,
"the internet is now the primary
point of inquiry for adults and even teenagers with health
concerns, and the accuracy of self-diagnosing online is quite
surprising," said Liu.
The most common inquiry is searching for
symptoms and seeking natural therapies for those symptoms. Liu says
this is the most impressive part of his research.
"What is most remarkable is that
people are not self-medicating with black market drugs, but they
are seeking alternative therapies, treatment, supplementation,
herbs, and natural remedies to cure or ease their condition," he
Liu surveyed more than 28,000 teens and
adults through direct questionnaire and found positive and accurate
consistencies in diagnoses in approximately 78% of respondents.
All of those respondents averaged just
under 8 minutes in finding their exact symptoms and condition from a
variety of websites and internet searches.
Less than 20% were found to misdiagnose or misrepresent their
condition when they approached their physician. Almost all
respondents had the symptoms and associated condition they found
online to be confirmed later by their physician. A large percentage,
68% of respondents did not accept medication for their condition
from their physician and instead opted for natural therapies.
Natural therapies is where the largest inconsistencies persisted
according to Liu.
"Most respondents could not
consistently conform to any one type of treatment for the same
condition," he stated.
Those discrepancies may be tied to the
wealth of natural therapies available for so many different
conditions. Liu emphasized that due to the nature and diversity of
holistic approaches to treatment, the inconsistencies were not
The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions were,
While the most accurate diagnoses were,
Other very accurately diagnosed diseases
autism spectrum disorder
high blood pressure
The most common symptoms likely to cause
online seekers of diagnoses were,
More than two-thirds of those surveyed
stated they were not in a position or comfortable talking to friends
or family about their condition, and almost one-third of respondents
were also not comfortable talking to their spouse.
More than half of respondents said they no longer confide
in conventional medical advice, pharmaceuticals or mainstream
treatments when there are equally effective natural treatments
with less side effects.
These opinions stemmed from self
education and the growing demographic of informed health
savvy internet users.
"It's important that we listen to
our bodies and although we must be cautious about the
information we encounter online, we usually know ourselves
better than anybody else, including physicians," concluded Liu.