Popularity of sleep disordered breathing in childhood: an analysis of worldwide search using Google Trends

Marco Zaffanello, Giuseppe Lippi, Nazzarena Arman, Michele Piazza, Laura Tenero, Giorgio Piacentini


Background: Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a general term encompassing a variety of breathing problems occurring during the sleep and characterized by frequently reported signs such as sleep apneas and snoring. Published studies on this topic are increasing over time, as demonstrated by the number of papers available on on-line databases.
Methods: Google Trends is a freely accessible and reliable online portal, which allows to explore internet search data. Due to the focus on of childhood SDB in published research, and because of its impact on health and wellbeing, this original study aims at investigating the worldwide popularity of most common sleep signs (apnea and snoring) from January 1st, 2004 to present time.
Results: The trend of interest for ‘sleep’, ‘sleep apneas’ and ‘snoring’ limited to pediatric age was lower than its overall popularity in the general population, thus reflecting a lower interest of these symptoms in children than in adults. Unlike an increasing trend of ongoing research, the popularity of pediatric sleep apnea and snoring was found to be relatively low around the world, and remained fairly stable over time.
Conclusions: This is a matter for concern, since the low popularity of SDB in children is counterbalanced by a need for reinforcing educational programs aimed at increasing widespread awareness, diagnosis and management of this condition.