Cyberchondriacs increase in number

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The number of people who go online to search for health information—cyberchondriacs—is growing, according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive.

Cyberchondriacs are people who usually go online to learn about physician conditions and symptoms and then go to their family doctors with information about possible treatments. This group represents 84 percent of all online adults, up from 80 percent in 2006 and 72 percent in 2005.

The poll of 1,010 adults, conducted between July 10 and July 17, found that cyberchondriacs go online for health information about 5.7 times per month. Of the 225 million adults in the United States, an estimated 160 million have searched for health information online, up 37% from 2005.