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We read with interest the study by Moccia et al1 showing seasonality of searches for multiple sclerosis (MS) using Google, reflecting trends reported for disease relapses.2 The analysis of social media (eg, Twitter and Facebook) is an additional tool that is being used increasingly to answer research questions about disease spatiotemporal epidemiology.3 Patients are more and more using web technologies such as social media, blogs and forums to generate real-world evidence of potentially medically important issues. This content therefore serves as an important source of data about disease burden. Given the study by Moccia et al, we therefore sought to investigate whether or not there is seasonality to tweets regarding MS, as this may better reflect the ‘patient voice’.
Tweets from 2010–2015 that contained the words ‘MS relapse’ …
Contributors AS performed the analysis and wrote the manuscript. MP and SC edited the manuscript. SVR designed the study and edited the manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval The tweets used in this study were publicly distributed. Consent for these tweets to be read comes from users signing the Twitter Terms and Agreement and agreeing to public privacy settings.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.