Epileptic Disorders


Information-seeking behaviour for epilepsy: an infodemiological study of searches for Wikipedia articles Volume 17, numéro 4, December 2015


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1 Department of Neurological, Biomedical, and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy
2 Department of Neurology, Franz Tappeiner Hospital, Merano, Italy
3 Department of Pediatric Neurology, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
4 Biomedical MR Imaging and Spectroscopy Group, Image Sciences Institute, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands
5 Department of Neuro-Psychiatry, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki-Ebonyi State, Nigeria
6 Department of Neurology, Christian Doppler Klinik, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria
7 Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Salzburg, Austria
8 Department of Public Health Technology Assessment, UMIT - University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall i.T., Austria
* Correspondence: Francesco Brigo Department of Neurological, Biomedical, and Movement Sciences, Section of Clinical Neurology, University of Verona. Piazzale L.A. Scuro, 10-37134 Verona, Italy
a Authors contributed equally.

Millions of people worldwide use the internet daily as a source of health information. Wikipedia is a popular free online encyclopaedia used by patients and physicians to search for health-related information. Our aim was to evaluate information-seeking behaviour of English-speaking internet users searching Wikipedia for articles related to epilepsy and epileptic seizures. Using Wiki Trends, which provides quantitative information on daily viewing of articles, data on global search queries for Wikipedia articles related to epilepsy and seizures were analysed. The daily Wikipedia article views on syncope, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, migraine, and multiple sclerosis served as comparative data. The period of analysis covered was from January 2008 to December 2014. Overall, the Wikipedia article “epilepsy and driving” was found to be more frequently visited than the articles “epilepsy and employment” or “epilepsy in children”. Since January 2008, the Wikipedia article “multiple sclerosis” was more often visited compared to the articles “epilepsy”, “syncope”, “psychogenic non-epileptic seizures” or “migraine”; the article “epilepsy” ranked 3,779 and was less frequently visited than “multiple sclerosis”, ranked at 571, in traffic on Wikipedia. The highest peak in search volume for the article “epilepsy” coincided with the news of a celebrity having seizures. Fears and worries about epileptic seizures, their impact on driving and employment, and news about celebrities with epilepsy might be major determinants in searching Wikipedia for information.