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Using internet search data to explore the global public concerns in ankylosing spondylitis

Abstract

Objective This study explored the changes of global public interest in internet search of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) based on Google Trends (GT) data, in order to reflect the characteristics of AS itself.

Methods GT was used to obtain the search popularity scores of the term ’AS’ on a global scale, between January 2004 and December 2018, under the ’health’ classification. Based on the global search data of AS provided by GT, the cosinor analysis was used to test whether there was seasonality in AS.

Results In general, AS related search volume demonstrated a decreasing trend from January 2004 to December 2014 and then remain stable from January 2015 to December 2018. No obvious seasonal variations were detected in AS related search volume (amplitude=1.54; phase: month=3.9; low point: month=9.9; p>0.025), which peaked in April and bottomed out in October. The top 17 rising topics were adalimumab, spondylolisthesis, Morbus, Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev, autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosis, HLA- B27 positive, Crohn’s disease, rheumatology, spondylosis, arthritis, uveitis, rheumatism, sacroiliac, psoriatic arthritis and spondylitis.

Conclusions Globally, there is no significant seasonal variation in GT for AS. The top fast-growing topics related to AS may be beneficial for doctors to provide targeted health education of the disease to patients and their families.

  • rheumatology
  • epidemiology

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