Facebook peeks spark asthma attacks in dumped boy

Nov 19, 2010

Beware unhappy asthmatics: Italian doctors warn that Facebook could trigger an attack in some susceptible users.

Gennaro D'Amato and colleagues treated an 18-year-old man whose asthma attacks were apparently sparked by logging into Facebook and seeing how many men his ex-girlfriend had friended.

The man had been taking two inhaled steroid drugs several times a day to control his asthma. But when his girlfriend dumped him - and worse, unfriended him on Facebook - his condition deteriorated.

Using a new nickname, the man re-friended his ex-girlfriend on the site. But the stress of seeing her photo on Facebook linked to so many new male friends was too much.

"The sight of this seemed to induce (), which happened repeatedly on the patient accessing her profile," wrote D'Amato of the High Specialty Hospital A Cardarelli in Naples, Italy and colleagues. Their letter was published Friday in the medical journal Lancet.

The man's worried mother measured his breathing patterns before and after his Facebook activity and found a 20 percent difference. After consulting a psychiatrist, the man decided not to log into Facebook any more. That stopped the asthma attacks. D'Amato and colleagues say social networks could cause and trigger attacks in depressed asthmatics.

Doctors, however, should not be advising anxious asthmatics to avoid social networking, said Max Blumberg a psychologist and research fellow at Goldsmiths University in London.

"One case study does not make for a good scientific study," he said. "We shouldn't demonize as the problem."

He said that the man might have had the same reaction if he had heard the gossip about his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriends down at the village bar.

Blumberg also doubted people would refrain from using the popular networking site to snoop for potentially unsettling information. "How many people are going to be able to resist looking into what our ex-partners are doing?"

Explore further: Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

More information: http://www.lancet.com

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook to keep profiles of the dead

Oct 27, 2009

(AP) -- Death doesn't erase the online footprints that people leave in life and Facebook won't either, though it will make some changes.

Social networking aggregator sues Facebook

Jul 10, 2009

(AP) -- In a counter-punch to the world's biggest online hangout, a small Web company called Power.com has sued Facebook, saying it doesn't follow its own policy of giving users control over their content.

Europe slams Facebook's privacy settings

May 13, 2010

Europe slammed as unacceptable the changes by social networking website Facebook to its privacy settings, that would allow the profiles of its users to be made available to third party websites.

Facebook shrinks Web page fonts

Nov 04, 2010

Facebook set some users to squinting by shrinking text size on pages of the world's most popular online social networking service.

Recommended for you

Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

13 hours ago

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality ...

New mums still excessively sleepy after four months

14 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—New mums are being urged to be cautious about returning to work too quickly, after a QUT study found one in two were still excessively sleepy four months after giving birth.

It's time to address the health of men around the world

14 hours ago

All over the world, men die younger than women and do worse on a host of health indicators, yet policy makers rarely focus on this "men's health gap" or adopt programs aimed at addressing it, according to an international ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ThanderMAX
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
Reminds me of Carlin...

A: "I have 5000 friend in facebook!!!"
b: "WOW! how many u have, outside facebook?"
A: "None"