in Australia indicates that Google searches can emerge
as a valuable resource for physicians in diagnosing rare
disorders. Akhila Thyli Hemanth reports.
Physicians often have a problem in diagnosing obscure
or perplexing medical conditions. They can now find in
Dr Google a ready aid says a study. With the increasing
number of medical maladies, it''s unreasonable to expect
a doctor to be a walking encyclopedia. Although the brain
is quasi computer, there is a limit to how much information
it can assimilate and recall at the right time.
misdiagnosis is still commonplace despite modern diagnostics
tools as a result of which patients end up being treated
for the wrong illness.
a trusted brand name for reliable searches with a veritable
repertoire of information gleaned from its access to an
estimated over three billion journals on the web in an
easy to use format, may soon be able to provide succor
to medicos all over the world.
team of researchers at Princess Alexandra Hospital in
Brisbane, Australia, decided to carry out a study to determine
how often Google searches lead doctors to the correct
identified 26 difficult diagnostic cases published in
the case records of the New England Journal of Medicine
in 2005 that included rare conditions such as Cushing''s
syndrome (a hormonal disorder) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
(a fatal brain disorder) cat scratch disease (swelling
of lymph nodes after an animal scratch) which Google identified
correctly and one ''hot tub lung and brain abscess''
which it misdiagnosed.
study suggests that in difficult diagnostic cases, it
is often useful to Google for a diagnosis," Dr Hangwi
Tang and Dr Jennifer Hwee Kwoon Ng wrote.
three to five clusters of symptom-related search words,
they searched Google while being blind to the correct
diagnoses. They compared a percentage of correct diagnoses
from the search with the diagnoses as published in the
New England Journal of Medicine and found 15, or
58 per cent, of the cases tallying.
search engines are becoming the latest tools in clinical
medicine, and doctors in training need to become proficient
in their use", Tang said in the study published online
by the British Medical Journal.
described in the New England Journal of Medicine,
a doctor surprised her colleagues and a distinguished
professor by correctly diagnosing IPEX (immunodeficiency,
polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X linked) syndrome. She
admitted that the diagnoses "popped right up"
after she entered the salient features into Google.
potential benefit is that Google is good at finding documents
with co-occurrence of words (i.e. symptoms), and this
can be very helpful when there is a set of unusual symptoms
and signs," Tang said.
this new era of information has some potential drawbacks.
"The most obvious drawback is believing everything
one reads, therefore, doctors need to have skills in critical
appraisal of stuff they find on the net," says Tang.
Similarly, "patients doing a search should use common
sense, so if something is too good to be true, then...
Another potential drawback is self-diagnosis by patients.
I don''t think search engines can ever replace a good clinician
who has plenty of common sense." Tang elaobrates.
Venkatesh Murthy, a consulting GI (gastro intestinal)
surgeon, says," This is most useful for rare and
unusual medical conditions, but a doctor should be the
primary user as he is specialised in this field and would
be more likely to reach a correct diagnosis than a patient,
who may find the interpretation difficult." He recommends
a consultation with a physician.
surgeon Dr Vivekanand, says that he would probably use
Google Health for reference and to substantiate his diagnoses
but "would not rely on it, and would not go by case
reports as it might not be accurate."
this means to Google
Though there are some mixed responses to Dr Google, it
is one of the most preferred search engines. In a constant
bid to better itself and to stay ahead of competition
from Yahoo! and MSN, Google is introducing several
new features in the near future, and Google Health is
just one of the topic-specific related search capabilities
built out of a new Google feature called Co-Op, where
web addresses can be posted or swapped.
piling on more search features, Google is playing to its
core strength of internet search queries which translates
into more search revenues. Each time a consumer clicks
on an advertisement, which runs alongside the search results,
it generates revenue. So the larger the audience, the
higher the probability the consumer will click on the
diversifying into different features, Google is now seeking
a bigger slice of the ad pie by focusing on the quality
of their results. Google''s slice of the advertising pie
is said to be $13.4 million annually. As Google CEO Eric
Schmidt said, "internet search is what will keep
Google in front for now and the immediate future."
Trends was the first of the many features looking at similar
word traffic, a newer version of Google Desktop that can
incorporate many existing Google features like Google
video or the fairly new Google calendar (a rival to the
dominance of desktop software by the "convicted monopolist"
MSN) and Google Notebook similar to a Post-it note for
your desktop so that each time you search, the results
will have the option to "note this", which will
then transfer the link to a small notepad on the bottom
right-hand corner of the screen, are many of the new search
give a wider reach to its advertisers, Google is now looking
at adding television, print, internet or radio to the
medium. TV ads by Google will ultimately build off its
purchase of dMarc Broadcasting, a company that provides
digital radio advertisements, and YouTube. Since Google
radio ads are doing well, there is a tendency to view
TV for advertisements more seriously.
there''s an opportunity," says Jonathan Rosenberg,
a Google senior vice president. "TV will become more
of a search-based paradigm, so there''s an opportunity
to marry search with TV."