Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey Medical Center home Penn State Hershey: Patient Care home Penn State Hershey: Education home Penn State Hershey: Research home Penn State Hershey: Community home
Penn State Hershey Health Information Library
  Library Home
  Find A Physician
  Find A Practice
  Request An Appointment
  Search Clinical Studies
  Classes and Support Groups
  Ask A Health Librarian
  Subscribe to eNewsletters


Penn State Hershey Health Information Centers
  Bone and Joint
  Cancer
  Children
  Heart
  Men
  Neurology
  Pregnancy
  Seniors
  Women

        Follow Us

Online History Gives Clues to Heart Ills

THURSDAY, Sept. 6, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Online searches about heart disease peak in the winter, a new study says. That's when deaths from heart disease top out, too.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and more than 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States every year.

Researchers wondered if online searches for heart information varied seasonally, so they analyzed more than 10 years of Google data. They found that search volumes were 15 percent higher in the winter than in the summer in the United States and nearly 50 percent higher in winter than in summer in Australia.

The analysis also revealed that there are more searches about heart disease in regions of the United States with higher rates of heart disease deaths than in areas with lower rates.

Online search data could help estimate heart disease rates in specific regions, the researchers said.

The study was published Sept. 4 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

"By showing that seasonal and geographic interest in seeking (heart disease) health information correlates with findings in real-world data, we show that Internet search-query data could potentially provide real-time information on (heart disease) in the community," lead investigator Dr. Nilay Kumar said in a journal news release. He's with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Other experts agree.

Internet search engines and social media postings can act like the proverbial "canary in the coal mine" in the early detection of disease trends, Dr. Joseph Murphy and Dr. R. Scott Wright wrote in an accompanying editorial. The cardiologists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., also said searches and postings will "sing like a canary" in spreading important public health warnings.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on heart disease.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Mayo Clinic Proceedings, news release, Sept. 4, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.