Cyberchondriacs at Microsoft


Cyberchondriacs are people who needlessly fear the worst diagnosis after surfing the net. Web searches for minor complaints such as headache had the potential to escalate fears. After searching cyberchondriacs feared their headache was caused by a brain tumor, for example.

Love that word: Cyberchondriacs, had to share it with you.

A team at Microsoft studied health-related Web searches on popular search engines and surveyed 515 employees about their health-related searching.

About a third of the 515 Microsoft employees who answered a survey on their medical search habits “escalated” their follow-up searches to explore serious, rarer illnesses.


“The Web can be a useful tool to find out more information about conditions, but it should not replace talking to an expert.”