(cross-posted at Hoyden About Town)

Especially if your ills include a distinct lack of laughter at the hilarious outcomes of semantic search engines.

HealthBase was recently unveiled by NetBase, and it is designed to give you a nice broad sense of current medical knowledge about any condition you might be wondering about. Theoretically, it is supposed to trawl through authoritative sources of medical data to come up with the best medications and drugs, treatments and (randomly) food and plants for a given condition. It’s meant to offer you the pros and cons of given treatments, complete with links so that you can check them out yourself. Theoretically.

As TechCrunch points out in a post entitled NetBase Thinks You Can Get Rid Of Jews With Alcohol And Salt, this semantic search engine has come up with results that range from the hilarious to the offensive, with a fair few in between. (See also David Rothman’s take). But NetBase seems to think that they’ve cleared up most of the problems…. I… think not.

Some highlights with my commentary in brackets (please note the database seems to be chopping and changing, so if you don’t get the same results, that’ll probably be why):

Diabetes: Treatments for Diabetes include: Transplantation (of the diabetes, perhaps? I suppose that would help…), Transplant, Mouse (I… don’t even known?) and Pancreas (Um? With some fava beans and a nice chianti, perhaps?)

Depression: Treatments for Depression include: Great Depression (Um? We should time-travel? Because being economically depressed will help?),  Beck Depression Inventory (Because when I know how depressed I am, I no longer will be…?), and Questionnaire (Questionnaires are a cure-all on this site, listed for the vast majority of mental illnesses I checked… Who knew?!)

Myalgic Encephalitis: There is only one treatment available for this condition, and it is… Suffering (Yes, this is for real). And when we look into the pros and cons of suffering, we find that first and foremost on the pros list, it purifies the soul. There are a number of cons, though, which include: Suffering (circular reasoning, you think?), Torment heart (very poetical), Brandtson (Huh?), Coleman (… I got nothin’), Dennison Marrs (?!), Fine China (I should tell my nan…), Fold Zandura, Hideous Thieves (Well, that would be a con, suffering and being stolen from by ugly people…?), Kat Jones (Yeah, still nothin’), The Lassie Foundation (Um? Reruns are painful, but…?)

Sex Addiction can apparently be treated with: Acupuncture (which I have to say gets a look-in a fair bit as a cure…!), Animal Model (I… don’t know, and I don’t think I want to know!), Diagnostic Criterion (…Really?), Evidence Based Medicine (Who knew that revamping medicine would cure Sex Addiction?), and NicVAX (which, it would seem, multitasks as a treatment for nicotine addiction…)

Schizophrenia is due to abnormality and treatable with Deficit, LSD and Perceived Impact, has complications including Expression and Experience, and one of the cons of schizophrenia is researcher and scientist. Treatments for Fetish include Latex, Spandex, Magazine and Condiment. One of the causes of Chlamydia is, apparently, Kevin, but treatments are easy: Screening and Testing. And the sole known cause of Transsexuality is Wish, whilst a recommended treatment is Dick Lyon’s POV. Some, of course, are not funny, but more potentially insidiously damaging: in addition to Rothman’s AIDS-is-caused-by-Jews example cited at TechCrunch, Transsexualism suggests Early Intervention as a treatment, and links to a page which pathologises ‘extreme boyhood femininity’.

Please, everyone, do yourself a favour, go over and find out exactly how to treat all known illness. Share the highlights below. Because laughter might not be the best cure, but it’s still fun!

Hat tip to Ms-almost-Dr Pepperell of Rough Theory.