When the economy goes down, health concerns go up

WASHINGTON – The latest evidence of a connection between health and wealth comes from a rather unusual source — Google.

It turns out searches for information about various ailments skyrocketed when the economy declined between 2008 and 2011.

Researchers analyzed Google searches during the recession and found a big increase in the number of people who wanted to know more about specific health problems.

There was a big spike in queries dealing with headaches and stomach ulcers.

Searches also went up for back, joint, and gastric pain, along with hernias, chest pain and heart arrhythmia.

This was one of the first public health studies to rely on Google data, and the research team says it could be the wave of the future.

The researchers came from a number of institutions, including the School of Public Health at San Diego State University. Their findings were published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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