Friday, 19 November 2010

How Health Scares (And Lies) Begin

Here's one to file under 'everything causes everything'.

"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 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.
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.

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.


JuliaM said...

Just another in the multitude of 'reasons' to clamp down on that pesky net, DP...

Junican said...

We note the last few words of Prof Ayres, " which suseptible people can be exposed to stressful situations". Like, by some else, such as a smoker? He really ought to have said, "....can expose themselves to....".

Always someone else's fault....

Ian R Thorpe said...

Facebook is definitely a health risk Dick. If I ever meet the guy who invited me to join his friends list and sent me a picture of himself wearing a tightly laced basque with black stockings and high heels and sporting a stiffie I'll probably kill him. Not because I'm homohobic or hate cross dressers, not even because he offended me (he didn't) but because its the only humane thing to do.
Other than that I can see FB contributing to many ailments associated with poor diet and not getting enough sunlight on your face, but asthma? No way.

BTS said...

And once again Cause and Effect have a quiet chat in the corner before rejoining the party, with huge grins plastered across their faces, and proceed to spike the punchbowl..