Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Web search engine


Vast records of our everyday interests and concerns are being generated by our frequent interactions with the Internet. Here, we investigate how the searches of Google users vary across U.S. states with different birth rates and infant mortality rates. We find that users in states with higher birth rates search for more information about pregnancy, while those in states with lower birth rates search for more information about cats. Similarly, we find that users in states with higher infant mortality rates search for more information about credit, loans and diseases. Our results provide evidence that Internet search data could offer new insight into the concerns of different demographics.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Demography, Population, United States, Infant mortality, Web search engine, World Wide Web


Although traditionally the primary information sources for cancer patients have been the treating medical team, patients and their relatives increasingly turn to the Internet, though this source may be misleading and confusing. We assess Internet searching patterns to understand the information needs of cancer patients and their acquaintances, as well as to discern their underlying psychological states. We screened 232,681 anonymous users who initiated cancer-specific queries on the Yahoo Web search engine over three months, and selected for study users with high levels of interest in this topic. Searches were partitioned by expected survival for the disease being searched. We compared the search patterns of anonymous users and their contacts. Users seeking information on aggressive malignancies exhibited shorter search periods, focusing on disease- and treatment-related information. Users seeking knowledge regarding more indolent tumors searched for longer periods, alternated between different subjects, and demonstrated a high interest in topics such as support groups. Acquaintances searched for longer periods than the proband user when seeking information on aggressive (compared to indolent) cancers. Information needs can be modeled as transitioning between five discrete states, each with a unique signature representing the type of information of interest to the user. Thus, early phases of information-seeking for cancer follow a specific dynamic pattern. Areas of interest are disease dependent and vary between probands and their contacts. These patterns can be used by physicians and medical Web site authors to tailor information to the needs of patients and family members.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Web search engine, Search engine optimization, World Wide Web, Internet, Searching, Yahoo!


Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that threatens over half of the world’s population. Despite being endemic to more than 100 countries, government-led efforts and tools for timely identification and tracking of new infections are still lacking in many affected areas. Multiple methodologies that leverage the use of Internet-based data sources have been proposed as a way to complement dengue surveillance efforts. Among these, dengue-related Google search trends have been shown to correlate with dengue activity. We extend a methodological framework, initially proposed and validated for flu surveillance, to produce near real-time estimates of dengue cases in five countries/states: Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan. Our result shows that our modeling framework can be used to improve the tracking of dengue activity in multiple locations around the world.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Earth, Fever, Web search engine, Methodology, Pandemic, Tracking, World population


Recent research indicates a high recall in Google Scholar searches for systematic reviews. These reports raised high expectations of Google Scholar as a unified and easy to use search interface. However, studies on the coverage of Google Scholar rarely used the search interface in a realistic approach but instead merely checked for the existence of gold standard references. In addition, the severe limitations of the Google Search interface must be taken into consideration when comparing with professional literature retrieval tools.The objectives of this work are to measure the relative recall and precision of searches with Google Scholar under conditions which are derived from structured search procedures conventional in scientific literature retrieval; and to provide an overview of current advantages and disadvantages of the Google Scholar search interface in scientific literature retrieval.

Concepts: Google Scholar, Accuracy and precision, Web search engine, Statistical classification, Object-oriented programming, Searching, Google, Recall


Finding romance, love, and sexual intimacy is a central part of our life experience. Although people engage in romance in a variety of ways, alternatives to “the couple” are largely overlooked in relationship research. Scholars and the media have recently argued that the rules of romance are changing, suggesting that interest in consensual departures from monogamy may become popular as people navigate their long-term coupling. This study utilizes Google Trends to assess Americans' interest in seeking out information related to consensual nonmonogamous relationships across a 10-year period (2006-2015). Using anonymous Web queries from hundreds of thousands of Google search engine users, results show that searches for words related to polyamory and open relationships (but not swinging) have significantly increased over time. Moreover, the magnitude of the correlation between consensual nonmonogamy Web queries and time was significantly higher than popular Web queries over the same time period, indicating this pattern of increased interest in polyamory and open relationships is unique. Future research avenues for incorporating consensual nonmonogamous relationships into relationship science are discussed.

Concepts: Polyamory, Monogamy, Web search engine, Google, Non-monogamy, Google search, Swinging, Open relationship


: The recent emphasis on shared decision-making has increased the role of the Internet as a readily accessible medical reference source for patients and families. However, the lack of professional review creates concern over the quality, accuracy, and readability of medical information available to patients on the Internet.

Concepts: Web search engine, World Wide Web, Internet, History of the Internet, Searching, Linux


OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to discover the frequency and type of use of online resources for continuing professional development displayed by physiotherapists in the UK. Therapists' skills, needs and frustrations using these resources were explored. With the relatively recent release and saturated use of the internet the potential presence of a skills gap between therapists at different stages of their career was also investigated. DESIGN: National online survey study. SETTING: The online survey was carried out using the international online service ‘Survey Monkey’. PARTICIPANTS: 774 physiotherapists from students to band 8c completed the survey. INTERVENTIONS: The online survey was advertised through Frontline, the Interactive Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Journal of Physiotherapy Pain Association and cascade email through research and other networks. RESULTS: Most physiotherapists reported using the internet for professional purposes daily (40%) or 2 to 4 times a week (37%), with only 8% of respondents using it less than once a week. Overall the results suggest band 6 and 7 physiotherapists had the least skills and most frustrations when using online search engines. CONCLUSIONS: History and the nature of rapid technological advancement, specifically of the internet, appears to have created a generational skills gap within the largest group of the physiotherapy workforce band 6 and 7 therapists. Students, band 5 and band 8a therapists appear to most successfully use online resources and the reasons for this are explored.

Concepts: Therapy, United Kingdom, Physical therapy, Web search engine, World Wide Web, Internet, History of the Internet, Personal development


To examine the motivations and circumstances of individuals seeking information about self-abortion on the Internet.

Concepts: Web search engine, World Wide Web, Internet, Usenet, Linux, MySpace, Instant messaging, Stanford University


Google Scholar (GS), a commonly used web-based academic search engine, catalogues between 2 and 100 million records of both academic and grey literature (articles not formally published by commercial academic publishers). Google Scholar collates results from across the internet and is free to use. As a result it has received considerable attention as a method for searching for literature, particularly in searches for grey literature, as required by systematic reviews. The reliance on GS as a standalone resource has been greatly debated, however, and its efficacy in grey literature searching has not yet been investigated. Using systematic review case studies from environmental science, we investigated the utility of GS in systematic reviews and in searches for grey literature. Our findings show that GS results contain moderate amounts of grey literature, with the majority found on average at page 80. We also found that, when searched for specifically, the majority of literature identified using Web of Science was also found using GS. However, our findings showed moderate/poor overlap in results when similar search strings were used in Web of Science and GS (10-67%), and that GS missed some important literature in five of six case studies. Furthermore, a general GS search failed to find any grey literature from a case study that involved manual searching of organisations' websites. If used in systematic reviews for grey literature, we recommend that searches of article titles focus on the first 200 to 300 results. We conclude that whilst Google Scholar can find much grey literature and specific, known studies, it should not be used alone for systematic review searches. Rather, it forms a powerful addition to other traditional search methods. In addition, we advocate the use of tools to transparently document and catalogue GS search results to maintain high levels of transparency and the ability to be updated, critical to systematic reviews.

Concepts: Scientific method, Case study, Web search engine, Search engine optimization, World Wide Web, Searching, Google search, Yahoo!


As e-cigarette use rapidly increases in popularity, data from online social systems (Twitter, Instagram, Google Web Search) can be used to capture and describe the social and environmental context in which individuals use, perceive, and are marketed this tobacco product. Social media data may serve as a massive focus group where people organically discuss e-cigarettes unprimed by a researcher, without instrument bias, captured in near real time and at low costs.

Concepts: Tobacco, Nicotine, Electronic cigarette, Web search engine, Google, Google search, PageRank, Bing