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: Data mining study identifies Twitter as lifeline for people with Coeliac Disease

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

Health care organizations see value of telemedicine

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Health care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to a report published by Foley & Lardner.

Before you go... are you in denial about death?

11 hours ago

For most of us, death conjures up strong feelings. We project all kinds of fears onto it. We worry about it, dismiss it, laugh it off, push it aside or don't think about it at all. Until we have to. Of course, ...

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"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.