Ah, spring! The time of year when winter coats are exchanged for short sleeved shirts, space heaters for open windows, and winter colds for stuffy noses, rashes, and itchy or watery eyes. When suffering from any set of symptoms, misery often seeks company, and what better way to find out how many other people share in your seasonal symptomatology than through Wolfram|Alpha? By aggregating survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our medical content team has put together a unique set of symptom-searching tools that will enable you to investigate all of the symptoms you may experience throughout the year. For example, by entering “sneeze”, you can immediately find that an estimated 960,000 patients complain of sneezing when they visit the doctor each year, and that marginally more male patients complain of sneezing than female patients.
Spring has officially sprung, and here in the Midwest, we’re eagerly ice picking our way out of hibernation for some fun in the Sun! Some of us are enjoying the extended daylight hours, and others are jetting off to tropical spring break destinations.
While we were nestled by our office heaters, drinking Swiss Miss, and dreaming of the bright sunshine, we developed a few new tools in Wolfram|Alpha that give you facts on how to keep your skin healthy while enjoying the Sun. To get started, simply query “time to sunburn”. This query allows you to calculate how long your skin can be exposed to the Sun without burning based on your skin type, location, time, the level of Sun protection factor (SPF) you might be using, and how long you stay in the Sun. You can also select “UV index” for results based on the UV index, your skin type, SPF, and time in the Sun.
The personalized results show how long you can stay in the Sun before you’re likely to burn based on the factors you reported, a Sun protection advisory recommending an SPF level, and a UV forecast for your location. More »
In order to address questions like these and many more, Wolfram|Alpha has now assimilated data from two different surveys conducted by the CDC: the national ambulatory medical care survey (NAMCS) and its hospital-focused counterpart, the national hospital ambulatory medical care survey (NHAMCS). Together, these surveys provide information on common reasons why people visit the doctor’s office, drug treatments that are highly correlated with a particular disease, and which diseases are most commonly diagnosed within specific races, ethnicities, and genders.
Through Wolfram|Alpha, you can investigate data on thousands of diseases and medical conditions, such as these:
Instead of looking at all the information at once, you can also try more targeted inputs, such as “fraction of US population affected by lung cancer”:
From this output, we can see that approximately .21% of all U.S. patients are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. More »
We recently added data on health indicators for more than 200 countries and territories. We now have World Health Organization data on health care workers, immunizations, water and sanitation, preventive care, tobacco use, weight, and more.
Data is also now available on specific types of health care personnel, such as physicians, nurses, and dentists, and Wolfram|Alpha can also compute per capita figures for each type of health professional. Check out the figures on midwives in South Africa or dentists in Iceland—or for a particularly interesting view, try asking about doctors per capita in all countries.
Some data, such as for infant immunizations (including DTP, MCV, hepatitis B, and Hib), spans several years—which allows you to see dramatic increases in immunizations in many developing countries, as well as surprising declines in some first-world nations. More »
One of Wolfram|Alpha’s primary sources for medical test data is the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), an annual survey of thousands of people, from throughout the United States, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Wolfram|Alpha’s presentation of this data is unique in that it doesn’t just report reference ranges, but allows you to see where your own measurements and test numbers fall within the survey’s distribution of results. (Wolfram|Alpha does not give advice, medical or otherwise.)
At the most basic level, an input of “cholesterol test” returns the survey’s distribution of total cholesterol values: