Internet health experts say there are a handful of reasons that motivate people to type a health topic into a search box on their computer screen and wait, sometimes nervously, for the results, including a new diagnosis or concern for a family member.
Search engines such as AOL and Google, whose top 10 list for 2009 overlaps somewhat with AOL's, are typically the first place Internet health info seekers turn, not academic medical center or hospital websites, says Susannah Fox, associate director of digital strategy at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
"We've found consistently in our health surveys that a general search is the first stop for health consumers on the Internet," Fox says.
Fox says half of online health queries are for someone else. And women are more likely to conduct health searches than men.
They're also generally younger and more healthy than the general population, says Fox, who is working on a report that indicates people with chronic disease are less likely to go online and more likely to be older.Read More