Annual trends in Google searches provides insights related to rhinosinusitis exacerbations

David T Liu, Martin Schally, Sven Schneider, Julia Eckl-Dorna, Katie M Phillips, Christian A Mueller, Ahmad R Sedaghat, Gerold Besser
2021 European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology  
Temporal trends of disease-specific internet searches may provide novel insights into seasonal dynamics of disease burden and, by extension, disease pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to define the temporal trends in rhinosinusitis-specific internet searches. This was a cross sectional analysis of search volume for predefined search terms. Google trends was used to explore the volume of searches for five specific search terms related to rhinosinusitis: nose, mucus, sinus, sinusitis,
more » ... nic sinusitis, which were entered into Google web search between 2004 and 2019. Results were analyzed within search "context" which included temporally associated related searches. Relative search volume (RSV) was analyzed for English and non-English speaking countries from the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Analysis of seasonality was performed using the cosinor model. The five specific search terms were most related to rhinosinusitis-related search contexts, indicating that they were appropriately reflective of internet queries by patients for rhinosinusitis. The RSV for rhinosinusitis-related terms and more general search terms increased with each passing year indicating constant interest in rhinosinusitis. Cosinor time series analysis revealed inquiry peaks in winter months for all five specific rhinosinusitis-related search terms independent from the hemisphere. Over a 15-year period, Google searches with rhinosinusitis-specific search terms consistently peaked during the winter around the world. These findings indirectly support the model of viral infection or exposure as the predominant cause of acute rhinosinusitis and acute exacerbations of chronic rhinosinusitis.
doi:10.1007/s00405-021-06806-5 pmid:33877434 pmcid:PMC8739168 fatcat:kehvcwp2bvcxtjvszxshmgqomq