European Journal of Rheumatology
Original Article

Infodemiology of antiphospholipid syndrome: Merging informatics and epidemiology


Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, Center of Research of Immunopathology and Rare Diseases - Coordinating Center of the Network for Rare Diseases of Piedmont and Aosta Valley, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


Barbara Volcker Center for Women and Rheumatic Diseases, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, USA

Eur J Rheumatol 2018; 5: 92-95
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2018.17105
Read: 2638 Downloads: 1219 Published: 03 September 2019



Objective: To investigate trends in Internet search volumes linked to Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS), using Big Data monitoring and data mining.


Methods: Based on the large amount of data generated by Google Trends and scientific search tools (SCOPUS, Medline/Pubmed, and, we performed a longitudinal analysis based on the term “antiphospholipid” in a 5-year web-based research.


Results: Google Trends captured that APS-related digital interest was generally steady in the study period (Relative Search Volume [RSV] mean value 71.1±9.3% [95%CI 55.6-89.4], median 72.0), with no significant peak based on different seasons (e.g. winter vs. summer time). When comparing the APS-related digital interest with search volumes generated in the same time period for Inherited Thrombophilias (IT) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), we found a digital interest 35-times higher for APS than for IT (RSV mean value 71.1±9.3% [95%CI 55.6-89.4] vs. 2±3.2% [95%CI 0.7-7.4]). When compared to SLE, APS reached a similar RSV, showing a comparable digital interest (RSV mean value 71.1±9.3% [95%CI 55.6-89.4] vs. 87±11.8% [95%CI 60.7-107.9]). When adjusting for relative search volumes of Google Trends, we found a relative prevalence of search volumes of 35.5% in Europe, 12.3% in the United States, 11.5% in South America, 11.2% in Australia, 9.2% in Canada, 9.2% in Japan, and 5.1% in India. We observed an overall similar distribution of search volumes from Google Trends compared to results from Medline/Pubmed, SCOPUS, and In brief, the United States and Europe (mainly Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Germany) presented the higher RSV. Similarly, these countries showed a higher number of research publications and on-going trials in the field of APS.


Conclusion: In this study, we demonstrated that the interest in APS is not equally distributed globally. Thus, geopolitical differences might represent a challenge when attempting to estimate the prevalence of APS or designing worldwide investigations in APS. Combining the expanding framework of infodemiology with scientific networking collaborative efforts, such as AntiPhospholipid Syndrome Alliance For Clinical Trials and InternatiOnal Networking (APS ACTION), will help better define the syndrome in terms of prevalence, event occurrence ratios, and thrombosis risk assessment.


Cite this article as: Sciascia S, Radin M, Unlu O, Erkan D, Roccatello D. Infodemiology of antiphospholipid syndrome: Merging informatics and epidemiology. Eur J Rheumatol 2018; 5: 92-5.

EISSN 2148-4279