"This case indicates that Facebook, and social networks in general, could be a new source of psychological stress, representing a triggering factor for exacerbations in depressed asthmatic individuals. Considering the high prevalence of asthma, especially among young people, we suggest that this type of trigger be considered in the assessment of asthma exacerbations."Facebook as a cause of asthma? Perhaps Asthma UK should pull their Facebook group sharpish, then.
No. Of course it isn't the fault of Facebook. The real cause was the patient's self-induced stress after being dumped, Facebook merely set off a psychosomatic condition.
Prof Jon Ayres, Professor of Environmental and Respiratory Medicine, at University of Birmingham, said: “The issue of psychological stress triggering asthma is as old as the hills.In which case, just about anything could be a blamed as a trigger for asthma in 'susceptible' people if they get worked up enough about it.
"In Victorian times asthma was regarded as a “neurotic disease”. Asthma attacks induced by stressful situations are common and in the 1970s studies showed that in some people with asthma, attacks could be induced through the power of suggestion.
"We see people brought in with asthma attacks who have just come from funerals or other stressful situations; this is nothing new. I guess that Facebook simply provides another way in which susceptible people can be exposed to stressful situations.
The problem in this case, though, is that Mrs P e-mailed me with this development, as it was apparently announced on Capital Radio news (if that's what one can call it) this morning. As a result, neurotic teens, helicopter mums, white van men and black cab drivers will all have had Facebook as a health hazard implanted in their minds, and a new game of chinese whispers begins.
Watch that particular urban myth fly.