Tool may help researchers better understand how the public gains health information via the Internet
HealthDay (8/15, McKeever) reported that, according to Ball State University investigators, "Google Trends has a potential as a scientific research tool that may help people better understand how the public uses the web to find health information." The researchers noted a number of trends after reviewing "worldwide public search data from 2004 to the present." For instance, they discovered "[t]ies between search patterns and illnesses or diseases linked to celebrities in the news." Moreover, while "[t]raditional search terms for health-related information prevailed over newer or trendier terms," the team found that the "most frequently occurring cancers were not always the same as the types of cancer being most searched for." Next, the researchers intend to "look into whether Google makes any changes or alterations to the application in response to user needs."