Google’s new Searching for Health site creates visual representations of public interest versus disease occurrence across the US.The Searching for Health site, developed by Google News Lab, creates visual representations of online searches related to health versus actual disease occurrence across US counties.The tool deals with some of the biggest health issues of the 21st century, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, and diabetes.The site poses interesting questions about public awareness and lifestyle and its relation to the number of people affected by specific conditions.For example, the number of online searches relating to cancer show a positive correlation to the actual numbers of breast, colon and lung cancer (high interest matches high mortality).By contrast diabetes and obesity show a negative correlation (high interest, low prevalence). In other words, this suggests individuals in more health conscious areas are searching online for information about these diseases behaviour which seems to be linked to them not developing the conditions.Google has commented on how it thinks the data should be used, but its use in informing public health campaigns is obvious. It could allow awareness efforts for specific diseases in areas with a low interest but high mortality or prevalence. Diabetes and obesity are perfect examples of this, based on the sites own data.

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