Cyberchondriacs 上網自診可靠嗎?

Too much information? Is diagnosing our medical problems online doing us harm?
Are you a cyberchondriac?

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隨著網絡的發展和智慧型手機的大面積普及,我們當中的很多人在遇到醫學問題時會立即拿起手機上網找答案。可是網絡上找到的答案一定都是正確的嗎?這種“上網自診”的行為可靠嗎?本期《隨身英語》討論網上求醫的利與弊。

課文內容

Vocabulary: health 詞彙: 健康

How are you feeling today? I’ve got a few aches and pains, but nothing serious. However, when things become more critical, I would normally book myself an appointment with my GP – although by the time I get to see him, the problem will have probably gone away. That’s because in the UK at least, we usually have to wait a few days before the doctor can fit us in, and then when we’re at the surgery, we have a long wait.

Luckily today, technology has come to our rescue. There are thousands of apps available on our smartphones that can offer first aid advice and allow us to self-diagnose our ailments – ranging from a simple cold or flu to some exotic disease such as dengue fever. And together with the internet, we have a whole encylopedia of medical information at our fingertips.

But is this just what the doctor ordered? Is too much knowledge a good thing? By reading up on an illness, we discover its side-effects and what could happen in a worst-case situation. More worrying is that we give ourselves the wrong diagnosis, and then worry ourselves sick that we’re going to die. This health anxiety, fuelled by the internet, is called cyberchondria. It gives sufferers a deep fear of diseases and, according to experts, it’s on the rise. Professor Peter Tyrer from Imperial College London, told the BBC: “We find that approximately four out of five of our patients with health anxiety spend literally hours on the internet…. one of the first things we do in treatment is we tell them to stop browsing the internet.”

Of course there is no doubt, the world wide web has most of the information we need to diagnose our symptoms but Doctor Tyrer points out “it doesn’t have any judgement associated with it.” This is why having a consultation with a doctor face-to-face still has its benefits, although a study a few years ago found many GPs felt intimidated by the increasing numbers of web-wise patients arriving in surgeries. One doctor admitted to not being very happy about patients using the internet, saying: “They all seemed to come to me with things I’d never heard of and very often with things which seem rather bizarre or inappropriate.”

But Professor Sue Ziebland, from Oxford University, has spent 15 years examining how patients use the internet – including people with cancer. She found that doctors now routinely discuss it as a resource with patients during consultations so it becomes an everyday part of medical conversation. It would seem then that a virtual online doctor can prescribe a dose of useful advice, but technology hasn’t replaced the human medical expert just yet.

詞彙表

critical 嚴重的,危險的
appointment 預約
GP 全科醫生
surgery 診所
come to someone’s rescue 幫助某人脫離窘境
self-diagnose 自診
ailment 小病
dengue fever 登革熱
at our fingertips 近在我們手邊
just what the doctor ordered 正是想要的東西,正是所需之物
side-effect 副作用
worst-case 最壞的可能
anxiety 焦慮,不安
cyberchondria 網絡臆想病
fear 恐懼
treatment 醫治
symptom 症狀
consultation 問診
intimidate 恐嚇
bizarre 奇怪的,異乎尋常的
prescribe 開(藥)
dose 劑量

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1.  Name the technology mentioned in the article that has come to our rescue with medical help.

2.  Why can it be a dangerous thing to research our illness on the internet?

3.  According to research, what exactly was it about patients that was making doctors feel intimidated?

4.  Which word used in the article means ‘as part of the usual way of doing something’?

5.  What is the ‘resource’ that doctors now discuss with their patients during consultation?

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The world’s first elephant hospital opened in Thailand in 1993. Since then it has treated about 4,000 elephants for a variety of ______ from diarrhoea to cataracts, and even cancer.

appointments       ailments       anxiety       side-effects

2. There is a ______ that there will many casualties following the plane crash yesterday.

dead fear       deep fare       deep fear       feared dead

3. Scientists there have found exposure to sunlight releases a compound in the skin which can relieve ______ of eczema.

ailments       treatment       self-diagnose       symptoms

4. Research has found that older people are very ______ by computers and are confused about how to go online.

intimidating       intimidated       intimidation       intimidator

5. There is no treatment for measles, but two ______ of vaccine can prevent infection in the first place.

doses       symptoms       appointments       prescribes

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Name the technology mentioned in the article that has come to our rescue with medical help.
Apps on smartphones and the internet.

2. Why can it be a dangerous thing to research our illness on the internet?
We discover its side-effects and what the worst-case scenario could be.

3. According to research, what exactly was it about patients that was making doctors feel intimidated?
The patients knew too much medical information they had found on websites – they were ‘web-wise’.

4. Which word used in the article means ‘as part of the usual way of doing something’?
Routinely.

5. What is the ‘resource’ that doctors now discuss with their patients during consultation?
Medical information found on websites.

2. 請在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The world’s first elephant hospital opened in Thailand in 1993. Since then it has treated about 4,000 elephants for a variety of ailments from diarrhoea to cataracts, and even cancer.

2. There is a deep fear that there will many casualties following the plane crash yesterday.

3. Scientists there have found exposure to sunlight releases a compound in the skin which can relieve symptoms of eczema.

4. Research has found that older people are very intimidated by computers and are confused about how to go online.

5. There is no treatment for measles, but two doses of vaccine can prevent infection in the first place.

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