Using Google Trends to assess global public interest in osteoarthritis

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Abstract

To evaluate global public interest in osteoarthritis by assessing changes in Internet search popularity of the disease over a 10-year period. Google Trends was used to obtain search popularity scores for the word “osteoarthritis” (OA) between January 2004 and June 2018. We also analyzed changes in search volume relative to changes in search patterns for all health topics. Search interest in OA was high relative to all other health searches over the given timeframe. Overall, searches for OA steadily decreased between May 2004 and December 2012 and then steadily rose from January 2013 to April 2018. We also found consistent annual fluctuations over the pre-specified time range, with biannual peaks typically correlating with national and global awareness days. Biannual dips occurred with changes in seasonal patterns. Google searches for OA have steadily increased in recent years. Awareness initiatives, like World Arthritis Day, may be a reason for the public to search for information on OA. It may be helpful for physicians to search the Internet themselves for websites that provide accurate and high-quality information to recommend to their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2133-2136
Number of pages4
JournalRheumatology International
Volume38
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018

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Keywords

  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Public health

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