Navigation Links
Google searches about mental illness follow seasonal patterns

San Diego, CA, April 9, 2013 A new study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that Google searches for information across all major mental illnesses and problems followed seasonal patterns, suggesting mental illness may be more strongly linked with seasonal patterns than previously thought.

Monitoring population mental illness trends has been an historic challenge for scientists and clinicians alike. Typically, telephone surveys are used to try to glimpse inside the minds of respondents, but this approach is limited because respondents may be reluctant to honestly discuss their mental health. This approach also has high material costs. As a result, investigators have not had the data they need.

"The Internet is a game changer," said lead investigator John W. Ayers, PhD, MA, of the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University. "By passively monitoring how individuals search online we can figuratively look inside the heads of searchers to understand population mental health patterns."

Using Google's public database of queries, the study team identified and monitored mental health queries in the United States and Australia for 2006 through 2010. All queries relating to mental health were captured and then grouped by type of mental illness, including ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), anxiety, bipolar, depression, eating disorders (including anorexia or bulimia), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), schizophrenia, and suicide. Using advanced mathematical methods to identify trends, the authors found all mental health queries in both countries were consistently higher in winter than summer.

The research showed eating disorder searches were down 37 percent in summers versus winters in the U.S., and 42 percent in summers in Australia. Schizophrenia searches decreased 37 percent during U.S. summers and by 36 percent in Australia.

Bipolar searches were down 16 percent during U.S. summers and 17 percent during Australian summers; ADHD searches decreased by 28 percent in the U.S. and 31 percent in Australia during summertime. OCD searches were down 18 percent and 15 percent, and bipolar searches decreased by 18 percent and 16 percent, in the U.S. and Australia respectively.

Searches for suicide declined 24 and 29 percent during U.S. and Australian summers and anxiety searches had the smallest seasonal change down 7 percent during U.S. summers and 15 percent during Australian summers.

While some conditions, such as seasonal affective disorder, are known to be associated with seasonal weather patterns, the connections between seasons and a number of major disorders were surprising. "We didn't expect to find similar winter peaks and summer troughs for queries involving every specific mental illness or problem we studied, however, the results consistently showed seasonal effects across all conditions even after adjusting for media trends," said James Niels Rosenquist, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"It is very exciting to ponder the potential for a universal mental health emollient, like Vitamin D (a metabolite of sun exposure). But it will be years before our findings are linked to serious mental illness and then linked to mechanisms that may be included in treatment and prevention programs," said Ayers. "Is it biologic, environmental, or social mechanisms explaining universal patterns in mental health information seeking? We don't know."

"Our findings can help researchers across the field of mental health generate additional new hypotheses while exploring other trends inexpensively in real-time," said Benjamin Althouse, a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and researcher on the study. "For instance, moving forward, we can explore daily patterns in mental health information seeking maybe even finding a 'Monday effect.' The potential is limitless."


Contact: Brianna Lee
Elsevier Health Sciences

Related medicine news :

1. Astro-Clairvoyant Norah Guide for Premium Astrology Now Providing No Cost Personal Tarot Readings on Google+
2. “We Are Not Worried”, Says Shopping Cart Provider, Shopping Cart Elite in Response to Latest Google Webmaster Guidelines
3. Damaka Xavy™ for Microsoft® OCS R2 and Lync® is Now Available in Apple® iTunes® Store and Google™ Play for No Cost
4. HealthSavvi Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play
5. Finding Chicagos food gardens with Google Earth
6. Dont Trust Dr. Google for Help on Infant Sleep Safety
7. Google Rolls Out Another Panda Algorithm Update – Small Businesses Plan for the Future of SEO
8. UCLA researchers combat global disease with a cell phone, Google Maps and a lot of ingenuity
9. Internet searches can identify drug safety issues well ahead of public alerts
10. Researches Vitamin D Deficiency & Using a More Natural Approach
11. Healthcare Staffing Leader, Aureus Medical, Announces Top Online Job Searches for December
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... Ill. (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Decision Support Solutions, announced at the Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) annual ... have seen over 60% growth from 2014. Throughout 2015, the company has ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... automated breast density assessment and enterprise analytics solutions, here at the 101st ... (South Hall booth #2377). Volpara’s quantitative breast imaging tools enable personalized measurements ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... It’s inevitable that everyone will experience ... friend, or animal pass away, death lives among us. It is your perspective, however, ... a family of 11 children, author T Sky understands that she may see death ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... is pleased to announce the speakers for “Value-Based Payer-Provider Partnerships: Three Case ... from three innovative value-based care arrangements: Essentia Health and UCare, MissionPoint Health ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... The successful filing ... pharmaceutical company. Because it is so important to this key industry segment, Regis Technologies ... your IND Filing” on December 4th at 11am EST. , Federal law does not ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Cumberland Pharmaceuticals (CPIX), today announced that A.J. Kazimi ... December 3, 2015. TIME: 3:15p.m. ET LINK: ... --> DATE: Thursday, December ... --> --> This will ... to ask the company questions in real-time - both in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015 Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR ... educational partnership with Apollo Hospitals Group, the largest hospital chain in ... help train radiation technologists in the country. The MoU was signed ... Knowledge, and Ashok Kakkar , Varian,s India ... India , Varian intends to deploy its Access ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , November 30, 2015 PFE ... at up to 10 G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) targets ... to research and develop potential new medicines directed at ... multiple therapeutic areas. --> Heptares Therapeutics ("Heptares"), ... and wholly-owned subsidiary of Sosei Group Corporation ("Sosei"; TSE ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: