The main news this week concerns people looking up symptoms on the internet. This method of ‘self-diagnosis’ is leading to people worrying excessively about their health and booking unnecessary appointments and tests. This is also known as Cyber-Chondria.
Elsewhere, a 13-year-old girl who died from a brain aneurysm has helped a record eight different people, including five children, by donating her organs. This astonishing feat was made possible by Jemima Layzell, from Somerset, who passed away in 2012.
Finally, Police in Somerset have issues a warning to elderly residents after rogue traders targeted an woman in her 90’s and a man in his 80’s.
Cyber-Chondria becoming an issue
It has been reported this week that worrying excessively about health and going for unnecessary appointments and tests is becoming a growing problem. Researchers say that this has been fuelled by people looking-up symptoms on the internet. This anxiety is also known as Cyber-Condria.
The English Oxford Dictionary defines a cyberchondriac (someone with Cyber-chondria) as:
A person who compulsively searches the Internet for information about particular real or imagined symptoms of illness. – English Oxford Dictionary
Alongside Cyber-Chondria, health anxiety can also be caused be previous health scare and could now affect one in every five hospital out-patient. Researchers, from Imperial College London and King’s College London, are now calling for official health anxiety guidelines to be drawn-up, with psychotherapy being suggested as treatment.
Prof Peter Tyrer, emeritus professor in community psychiatry at Imperial College London, told the BBC:
“We suspect that [health anxiety] is increasing in frequency because of what is now called ‘cyber-chondria’. This is because people now go to their GPs with a whole list of things they’ve looked up on the internet, and the poor GP, five minutes into the consultation, has four pages of reading to do. Dr Google is very informative, but he doesn’t put things in the right proportion.”
The team of researchers estimate that this issue of Cyber-Chondria could be costing the NHS at least £420m a year.
Girl’s donated organs helps eight people
A 13-year-old girl who died from a brain aneurysm has helped eight different people, including five children, through organ donation. This number of people being helped through organ donation is a new record – normally, a donation results in 2.6 transplants.
Jemima Layzell, from Somerset, passed away in 2012 and donated her heart, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, small bowel and liver. Jemima’s heart, small bowel and pancreas were transplanted into three different people, with two people receiving her kidneys.
Her liver was split and transplanted into two further people, with both of her lungs being transplanted into one patient. Jemima’s parents, Sophy and Harvey Layzell, knew that she was willing to donate because they had spoken about it a couple of weeks before her death, after someone they knew had died in a crash.
“They were on the register but their organs couldn’t be donated because of the circumstances of their death. Jemima had never heard of organ donation before and found it a little bit unsettling but totally understood the importance of it. Everyone wants their child to be special and unique and this among other things makes us very proud.”
Jemima’s parents, along with her sister Amelia, now run The Jemima Layzell Trust, which helps young people with brain injuries and also promotes organ donation.
Rogue Traders targeting the elderly
Police in Somerset have issued a warning to the public following two cases of rogue traders over charging for work and targeting the elderly. The first incident saw a woman in her 90’s being cold called by a man who claimed that her guttering needed to be repaired. After undertaking the work, he returned the following morning and demanded a much higher price than originally quoted.
The second case involved a man in his 80’s being cold called by a man who stated that his guttering had a leak and needed to be repaired and demanded cash up-front. It is believed that this man was paid for his work and then also stole money from the victim.
Detective constable Jon Aggett from Teignbridge and South Hams CID, told Somerset Live:
“We are appealing to the public for two reasons. The first is to help us identify these men who have targeted these vulnerable people and to pressurise them into paying an extortionate amount for work; one has even stolen off the victim. Secondly, to make people aware of these type of people operating in the area. They usually target the elderly and use high-pressure tactics. If you have elderly neighbours or family, please speak to them and warn them of this latest crime.
“At no time should you agree to have work undertaken by a cold caller. Any tradesmen worth his weight in salt will always quote for work and would never pressurise a person for cash on the spot. Always contact a reputable builder, do not trust a rogue trader knocking on doors for work.”