Italian doctors warn asthma patients in an unusual turn of events of getting an attack just because of a Facebook update.

This they say because Gennaro D'Amato and colleagues recently treated an 18-year-old man who got an asthma attack after seeing how many new friends his ex-girlfriend had got through the social networking site, Facebook.

The young guy who was already taking two inhaled steroids many times a day, already developed a serious attack when his girlfriend dumped him and also took him out of her Facebook friends’ list.

Though he managed to become her friend once again using a new nickname, the sight of her photo on Facebook and the fact that she had a lot of new boyfriends bothered him a lot.

"The sight of this seemed to induce (shortness of breath), which happened repeatedly on the patient accessing her profile," wrote D'Amato of the High Specialty Hospital A Cardarelli in Naples, Italy. The letter was published Friday in the medical journal Lancet.

When his mother analyzed his breathing patterns before and after he had used Facebook, she noted a 20 per cent difference. Now, he has been suggested by a psychologist not to use Facebook anymore.

Max Blumberg a psychologist and research fellow at Goldsmiths University in London however noted that doctors should not be advising anxious asthmatic patients against social networking in general.

"One case study does not make for a good scientific study," he said. "We shouldn't demonize Facebook as the problem."