It may be basic biology but the majority of British people cannot name the largest organ in the body, according to a survey.

A total of 75 per cent of people said they did not know it was the skin, while almost half (47 per cent) of people admitted to wrongly self-diagnosing an illness.

Perhaps in a sign of the times, findings also revealed more than half (58 per cent) of people prefer to check the internet about symptoms before consulting a doctor.

The survey of 2000 people, commissioned to coincide with the release of the eighth series of medical drama House on DVD, showed just under half of people believed their lungs were the largest organ in their bodies.


Demonstrating further confusion, 64 per cent and 43 per cent were unable able to correctly place their spleen and liver.

The research also revealed nearly one in 10 turned to television shows such as Embarrassing Bodies, Casualty, Doctors and House to self-diagnose medical conditions.

One in 20 have overheard someone talking about an illness and used this information to self-diagnose, while one in 50 have heard of a celebrity's illness, such as Lady Gaga's lupus or Jade Goody's cervical cancer, and applied the symptoms to themselves.

Jane Druker, editor of Healthy magazine, said: "Increasingly, TV shows such as House are making people more aware of looking after their own health. However, it's really worrying that so many Brits are self-medicating an illness rather than consulting with a GP.

"With nearly half of people wrongly self-diagnosing an illness, this can lead to a great deal of unnecessary additional stress that could be avoided by simply asking a professional."


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