First-year medical students are some of the biggest hypochondriacs around. Bombarded with information about every disease under the sun, they start to imagine they have them all. In their minds, every mole is skin cancer. A nosebleed is surely a sign of a tumor. Headache? Must be skyrocketing blood pressure.
“People get terribly anxious,” says Dr. Arthur Barsky, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “One woman who came to see me was convinced she had melanoma. She brought in 20 pages of color photos of various skin lesions, trying to figure out which one looked most like hers.”
And now, because of the Internet, we can all be first-year medical students.