Top Trending Searches of 2010

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 18, 2010
From the WebMD Archives

A search trend -- something that has shown a major increase in search over time -- reflects what is on our audience’s collective mind. It is almost always related to something or someone in the news, and it may capture our attention for days or months.

While the actual terms vary from year to year, the underlying trends are often the same. Diseases are often popular, along with celebrities facing severe illnesses. You can almost guarantee that something related to diet and wellness will show up on the list. But there’s always something surprising, and this year was no exception. Who could have predicted that bedbugs would be the top trending search term this year? Maybe it’s capturing our imagination because they’re just plain icky.

Here is our list of 2010’s top trending searches compared to 2009:

  1. Bedbugs: Bedbugs were everywhere this year: from swanky hotels and retail stores to private homes. And it turns out that getting rid of them is pretty difficult. The pesky critters replaced lice as the “it” bug of the moment.
  2. Throat cancer: When Michael Douglas was diagnosed with throat cancer, a type of cancer not as commonly known, readers were interested in finding out more about the cancer, its symptoms, and treatments. In 2009, our thoughts turned to Farrah Fawcett as she struggled with anal cancer, another cancer less familiar to our readers.
  3. Whooping cough: In 2009, swine flu and its symptoms dominated search for months. This year, it’s hardly a blip on our collective search radar. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is this year’s search trend, fueled sadly by the epidemic in California that has left 10 infants dead and is spreading nationwide.
  4. Gluten: Is your pasta making you sick? Readers wanted to find out if their digestive troubles could be caused by celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten that is considered an autoimmune disease. Because gluten is found in most bread-related products, eating a gluten-free diet can be challenging. It replaced acai berry, a so-called super food touted for weight loss and antiaging.
  5. Vitamin D: It not only is necessary for strong bones, but vitamin D deficiency has been linked to asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and even weight gain. While the jury is still out on those benefits, the Institute of Medicine recommended a daily intake of 600 IU a day for people ages 1-70 and 800 IU for those 71 and older. Last year, resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and wine, was making news for its potential antiaging benefits.