Lancet: Facebook triggered asthma attack in previously asymptomatic teen

Add this to the list of potential Facebook dangers: life-threatening asthma attacks.

An 18-year-old man, whose ex-girlfriend Facebook blocked him and then friended several other dudes she could have totally been boning, was discovered by doctors to be experiencing Facebook induced asthma attacks each time he used the service to surreptitiously view her profile. (He had to create a “false identity” to access information like her profile.)

The report in British medical journal The Lancet indicates that the patient’s symptoms directly correlated with his activity on the site relating to his former flame:

“The sight of this seemed to induce dyspnoea, which happened repeatedly on the patient accessing her profile,” the doctors wrote… The patient was advised to measure his breathing capacity before and after going online, and indeed, his “peak expiratory flow” fell as much as 20% “post-Facebook,” according to the report.

The LA Times concludes that there “is a cure” for the symptoms, which includes “staying off the site.” The teen was treated by a psychiatrist, who helped him overcome his Facebook-stalking impulses, thus eliminating the related, stress-induced episodes. But, doctors caution, medical professionals should be on the lookout for Facebook-related symptoms of stress:

The doctors noted that “psychological stress is a recognized cause of asthma attacks,” and that Facebook could present “a new source of psychological stress” for many people, including those with asthma. As a result, they warn, physicians should be on the look-out for Facebook-induced asthma attacks.