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Study: Recession caused physical illness

(NYTIMES) — Did the recent recession make people feel physically ill? A study of Google queries suggests it did.

Researchers counted queries for health terms — abdominal pain, headaches, shoulder pain, migraine and hundreds of others. Then they tracked how the numbers of searches for those terms changed during the recession — December 2008 through December 2011 — from levels before the recession began. The study was published in the February issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers analyzed the top 100 health-related search terms. Leading the group were stomach ulcer symptoms, up 228 percent, with 1.48 million extra queries, and headache symptoms, up 193 percent, with 1.52 million extra queries. Hernia and back pain were also among the top 10. The counts were statistically adjusted to account for the general increases in all Google searches over time.