• Facebook is to cancer as Twitter is to hangnails

    by  • 2/19/2009 • health, science • 0 Comments

    How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer. Facebookinoma? The Daily Mail writes up Facebook as the death of modern man, and points to Dr. Aric Sigman as the oracle of DOOM! Tomorrow, the Daily Mail will have a followup on how They are keeping homeopathic cancer cures from us.

    Social networking sites such as Facebook could raise your risk of serious health problems by reducing levels of face-to-face contact, a doctor claims.

    Emailing people rather than meeting up with them may have wide-ranging biological effects, said psychologist Dr Aric Sigman.

    Increased isolation could alter the way genes work and upset immune responses, hormone levels and the function of arteries. It could also impair mental performance.

    This could increase the risk of problems as serious as cancer, strokes, heart disease and dementia, Dr Sigman says in Biologist, the journal of the Institute of Biology.

    Research suggested that the number of hours people spent speaking to others face-to-face had fallen dramatically since 1987 as the use of electronic media increased.

    Interacting ‘in person’ had effects on the body not seen when writing emails, Dr Sigman claimed. Levels of hormones such as the ‘cuddle chemical’ oxytocin, which promotes bonding, altered according to whether people were in close contact or not.

    I’m thinking that non-oncologist PSYCHOLOGIST Doctor Sigman has forgotten the differences between correlation and causation, if he ever knew them. There’s a claim that face to face interactions have fallen since 1987 as electronic media use has risen…


    Fax machines and touch-tone telephones started this? I wonder if anything else happened in 1987 that could be linked to an upswing in the amount of time people spend on their own? Over-prescribing of mood altering drugs maybe? 13 (hundred) channels of shit on the tv to choose from, an X-Box, telecommuting, food delivery to the door payable by debit card, and yet a social media site is the causal agent for an uptick in cancers?

    Daily Mail: stop trying to scare people by linking item X to cancer. It’s not typically that black and white a linkage unless you’re juggling balls made of plutonium.

    To be fair to Dr. Sigman, I’ve heard and read some other things he’s produced on how too much choice ironically seems to reduce choice, and about how television is going to be the death of us. I’d be more likely to agree on TV and Hollywood being responsible for isolation more than any of these social media sites.


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