Elad Yom-Tov's research while affiliated with Microsoft and other places

Publications (206)

Preprint
We propose methods for making inferences on the fairness and accuracy of a given classifier, using only aggregate population statistics. This is necessary when it is impossible to obtain individual classification data, for instance when there is no access to the classifier or to a representative individual-level validation set. We study fairness wi...
Article
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health concern with serious consequences for victims’ physical and mental health. Despite the high prevalence of IPV, describing it and detecting people suffering from it is difficult due to its sensitive nature and stigma associated with it. Existing tools for screening and tracking IPV victims are...
Article
Full-text available
Prior work has shown the utility of using Internet searches to track the incidence of different respiratory illnesses. Similarly, people who suffer from COVID-19 may query for their symptoms prior to accessing the medical system (or in lieu of it). To assist in the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic we analyzed searches for relevant...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Geospatial temporal data derived from smartphones traditionally used for purposes of navigation may offer valuable information for public health surveillance and locational hot spotting. Our objective was to develop a web-based application, called Covidseeker, that captures continuous fine-grained geospatial temporal data from smartp...
Chapter
Online anxiety support communities offer a valuable and accessible source of informational and emotional support for people around the world. However, effectively responding to posters’ anxiety-related questions can be challenging for many users. We present our work in developing a web-based tool that draws from previous question-response interacti...
Article
Full-text available
Syndromic surveillance systems monitor disease indicators to detect emergence of diseases and track their progression. Here, we report on a rapidly deployed active syndromic surveillance system for tracking COVID-19 in Israel. The system was a novel combination of active and passive components: Ads were shown to people searching for COVID-19 sympto...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Achieving optimal diabetes control requires several daily self-management behaviours, especially adherence to medication. Evidence supports the use of text messages to support adherence, but there remains much opportunity to improve their effectiveness. One key limitation is that message content has been generic. By contrast, reinforce...
Article
Full-text available
Encouraging people to vaccinate is a challenging endeavor, but one which has tremendous public health benefits. Doing so requires overcoming barriers of awareness, availability, and (sometimes) vaccine hesitancy. Here we focus on nudging people to vaccinate through online advertising. We conducted a pre-registered online ads campaign encouraging pe...
Article
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted of a suspected outbreak of lung illness associated with using E-cigarette products in September 2019. At the time that the CDC published its alert little was known about the causes of the outbreak or who was at risk for it. Here we provide insights into the outbreak through analysis of passi...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Individuals with diabetes need regular support to help them manage their diabetes on their own, ideally delivered via mechanisms that they already use, such as their mobile phones. One reason for the modest effectiveness of prior technology-based interventions may be that the patient perspective has been insufficiently incorporated. O...
Article
Full-text available
Empirical studies show that epidemiological models based on an epidemic’s initial spread rate often fail to predict the true scale of that epidemic. Most epidemics with a rapid early rise die out before affecting a significant fraction of the population, whereas the early pace of some pandemics is rather modest. Recent models suggest that this coul...
Article
The ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM) is one of the premier conferences on web-related research involving web search and data mining, with a dynamic and growing community from academia and industry. This year, WSDM was held virtually on March 8th -- 12th, 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of the originally-...
Article
Full-text available
Search advertising, a popular method for online marketing, has been employed to improve health by eliciting positive behavioral change. However, writing effective advertisements requires expertise and experimentation, which may not be available to health authorities wishing to elicit such changes, especially when dealing with public health crises s...
Article
Background Cerebrovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality and disability. Common risk assessment tools for stroke are based on the Framingham equation, which relies on traditional cardiovascular risk factors to predict an acute event in the near decade. However, no tools are currently available to predict a near/impending stroke, which mig...
Article
Full-text available
Cerebrovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality and disability and an immense global burden. It is partly related to aging in a metabolic syndrome-promoting environment. Prevention strategies are insufficient: they rely on intermittent screening in predominantly high-risk individuals, while most cases occur in the intermediate risk populati...
Article
Full-text available
Background Clinical reports from patients suffering from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) reflect a high prevalence of sensory deprivation or loss pertaining to smell (dysosmia/anosmia) and/or taste (dysgeusia/ageusia). Given the importance of the senses to daily functioning and personal experience, the mental health consequences of these symptoms...
Article
Background Men who have sex with men (MSM) increasingly use internet-based websites and geospatial apps to seek sex. Though these platforms may be useful for public health intervention, evaluations of such interventions are rare. We sought to evaluate the online behavior of young MSM of color in Philadelphia and the effectiveness of using ads to li...
Preprint
Full-text available
Suicide research involves a difficult ethical challenge: how to keep participants' safe without compromising their privacy. This challenge becomes even more difficult in contemporary research that relies on data from anonymous users of web-based crowdsourcing platforms (e.g., Amazon's Mechanical Turk). To address this ethical challenge, a consortiu...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has demonstrated that various properties of infectious diseases can be inferred from online search behaviour. In this work we use time series of online search query frequencies to gain insights about the prevalence of COVID-19 in multiple countries. We first develop unsupervised modelling techniques based on associated symptom cat...
Preprint
Background. Clinical reports from patients suffering from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) reflect a high prevalence of sensory deprivation or loss pertaining to smell (dysosmia/anosmia) and/or taste (dysgeusia/ageusia). Given the importance of the senses to daily functioning and personal experience, the mental health consequences of these symptoms...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Cerebrovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality and disability. Common risk assessment tools for stroke are based on the Framingham equation, which relies on traditional cardiovascular risk factors to predict an acute event in the near decade. However, no tools are currently available to predict a near/impending stroke, which mig...
Article
Aims To investigate whether the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) in Scotland on 1 May 2018 was reflected in changes in the likelihood of alcohol‐related queries submitted to an internet search engine and in particular whether there was any evidence of increased interest in purchasing of alcohol from outside Scotland. Design Observational...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Rapid detection and surveillance of COVID-19 is essential to reducing spread of the virus. Inadequate screening capacity has hampered COVID-19 detection, while traditional infectious disease response has been delayed due to significant demands for healthcare resources, time and personnel. This study investigated whether an online health...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Individuals with diabetes need regular support to help them manage their diabetes on their own, ideally delivered via mechanisms that they already use, such as their mobile phones. One reason for the modest effectiveness of prior technology-based interventions may be that the patient perspective has been insufficiently incorporated. OBJ...
Preprint
Introduction: Most people with psychiatric illnesses do not receive treatment for almost a decade after disorder onset. Online mental health screens reflect one mechanism designed to shorten this lag in help-seeking, yet there has been limited research on the effectiveness of screening tools in naturalistic settings. Material and methods: We examin...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Most people with psychiatric illnesses do not receive treatment for almost a decade after disorder onset. Online mental health screens reflect one mechanism designed to shorten this lag in help-seeking, yet there has been limited research on the effectiveness of screening tools in naturalistic settings. Material and methods We examine...
Article
Full-text available
Computer malware and biological pathogens often use similar infection mechanisms. For this reason, it has been suggested to model malware spread using epidemiological models developed to characterize the spread of biological pathogens. However, to date, most work examining the similarities between malware and pathogens using such methods was based...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has shown the efficacy of screening for serious medical conditions from data collected while people interact with online services. In particular, queries to search engines and the interactions with them were shown to be advantageous for screening a range of conditions including diabetes, several forms of cancer, eating disorders, an...
Article
Background Although autism is often characterized in literature by the presence of repetitive behavior, in structured decision tasks, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been found to examine more options in a given time period than controls. Objective We aimed to examine whether this investigative tendency emerges in information...
Preprint
BACKGROUND While autism is often characterized in the literature by the presence of repetitive behavior, in structured decision tasks individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were found to examine more options in a given time period than controls. OBJECTIVE We examined whether this investigative tendency emerges in information search via th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many epidemiological models predict high morbidity levels based on an epidemic's fast initial spread rate. However, most epidemics with a rapid early rise die out before affecting a significant fraction of the population. We study a computer malware ecosystem exhibiting spread mechanisms resembling those of biological systems while offering details...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Depression and diabetes are highly disabling diseases with a high prevalence and high rate of comorbidity, particularly in low-income ethnic minority patients. Though comorbidity increases the risk of adverse outcomes and mortality, most clinical interventions target these diseases separately. Increasing physical activity might be effe...
Article
Objective Eating disorders (EDs) compromise the health and functioning of affected individuals, but it can often take them several years to acknowledge their illness and seek treatment. Early identification of individuals with EDs is a public health priority, and innovative approaches are needed for such identification and ultimate linkage with evi...
Preprint
Full-text available
COVID19 was first reported in England at the end of January 2020, and by mid-June over 150,000 cases were reported. We assume that, similarly to influenza-like illnesses, people who suffer from COVID19 may query for their symptoms prior to accessing the medical system (or in lieu of it). Therefore, we analyzed searches to Bing from users in England...
Preprint
UNSTRUCTURED Recent research has shown the efficacy of screening for serious medical conditions from data collected while people interact with online services. In particular, queries to search engines and the interactions with them were shown to be advantageous for screening a range of conditions including diabetes, several forms of cancer, eating...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Oral Contraceptives (OCs) are a unique chronic medication where a slip of memory may be experienced as a threat that could change the life course of a person. Subjective concerns in women missing doses of OCs have been addressed infrequently. Anonymized queries to internet search engines provide a unique access to concerns and informatio...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Oral contraceptives (OCs) are a unique chronic medication with which a memory slip may result in a threat that could change a person's life course. Subjective concerns of missed OC doses among women have been addressed infrequently. Anonymized queries to internet search engines provide unique access to concerns and information gaps fac...
Article
Objective: Assess Instagram use for mental health disclosure in university students to assess the potential for Instagram use as mental health support-seeking. Participants: Twenty-one students using mental health services while attending a private, Mid-Atlantic university between 6/2017-12/2017. Methods: Collected qualitative interview and Instagr...
Article
This study aimed to quantify human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Twitter messaging addressing gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GB+MSM) and describes messaging by vaccine sentiment (attitudes towards vaccine) and characteristics (topic of messaging). Between August 2014 and July 2015, we collected 193 379 HPV-related tweets and clas...
Preprint
Previous research has demonstrated that various properties of infectious diseases can be inferred from online search behaviour. In this work we use time series of online search query frequencies to gain insights about the prevalence of COVID-19 in multiple countries. We first develop unsupervised modelling techniques based on associated symptom cat...
Article
Studies have shown that search engine queries are indicative of future diagnosis of several types of cancer. These studies were based on self-identification of illness and were limited in that diagnostic information could not be shared with screened individuals. Here I report on two studies that overcome these limitations. Advertisements were displ...
Article
Background Surveys suggest that a large proportion of people use the internet to search for information on medical symptoms they experience and that around one-third of the people in the United States self-diagnose using online information. However, surveys are known to be biased, and the true rates at which people search for information on their m...
Article
Understanding the dynamics of infectious disease spread in a heterogeneous population is an important factor in designing control strategies. Here, we present a tensor-driven multi-compartment version of the classic Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) model and apply it to Internet data to reveal information about the complex spatial structure of...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding processes that lead people to invest a certain amount of time in challenging tasks is important for theory and practice. In particular, researchers often assume strong linear associations between confidence, consensuality (the degree to which an answer is independently given by multiple participants), and response time. The Diminishin...
Article
Full-text available
Experts are concerned about the spread and recalcitrance of vaccine misinformation and its contribution to vaccine hesitancy. Despite this risk, little research attention has been paid to understanding how individuals seek vaccine information online and evaluate its trustworthiness. Here, we hypothesized that when vaccine-hesitant parents seek info...
Article
Background: The expanding amount of information available from our use of technologies has led researchers to explore how this information can aid in the detection of mental health issues. We expand on past work in this area by exploring how browsing histories might be able to predict perceived barriers to psychological treatment. Methods: We ob...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Colonoscopy as a screening and diagnostic tool is generally safe and well-tolerated, and significant complications are rare. The rate of more mild adverse effects is difficult to estimate, particularly when such effects do not result in hospital admission. We aimed to identify the rate and timing of adverse effects as reported by users...
Article
Full-text available
The correlation between the demographics of users and the text they write has been investigated through literary texts and, more recently, social media. However, differences pertaining to language use in search engines has not been thoroughly analyzed, especially for age and gender differences. Such differences are important especially due to the g...
Article
Full-text available
Despite widespread use of the Internet and social media platforms by the public, there has been little organized exchange of information among the academic, government, and technology sectors about how digital communication technologies can be maximized to improve public health. The second Digital Health Promotion Executive Leadership Summit conven...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Loneliness has become a public health problem described as an epidemic, and it has been argued that digital behavior such as social media posting affects loneliness. Objective: The aim of this study is to expand knowledge of the determinants of loneliness by investigating online postings in a social media forum devoted to loneliness....
Preprint
BACKGROUND Loneliness has become a public health problem described as an epidemic and it has been argued that digital behavior such as social media postings affects loneliness. OBJECTIVE The aim of the study is to expand the knowledge on the determinants of loneliness by investigating online postings in a social media forum devoted to loneliness....
Article
Full-text available
Objective: To develop, apply, and evaluate, a novel web-based classifier for screening for Parkinson disease among a large cohort of search engine users. Methods: A supervised machine learning classifier learned to distinguish web users with self-reported Parkinson's disease from controls based on their interactions with a search engine (Bing, M...
Preprint
Full-text available
Search advertising is one of the most commonly-used methods of advertising. Past work has shown that search advertising can be employed to improve health by eliciting positive behavioral change. However, writing effective advertisements requires expertise and (possible expensive) experimentation, both of which may not be available to public health...
Preprint
Computer malware and biological pathogens often use similar mechanisms of infections. For this reason, it has been suggested to model malware spread using epidemiological models developed to characterize the spread of biological pathogens. However, most work examining the similarities between malware and pathogens using such methods was based on th...
Preprint
Full-text available
People increasingly turn to the Internet when they have a medical condition. The data they create during this process is a valuable source for medical research and for future health services. However, utilizing these data could come at a cost to user privacy. Thus, it is important to balance the perceived value that users assign to these data with...
Preprint
Full-text available
We develop a multiple compartment Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) model to analyze the spread of several infectious diseases through different geographic areas. Additionally, we propose a data-quality sensitive optimization framework for fitting this model to observed data. We fit the model to the temporal profile of the number of people infec...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Adolescents use social media for information on medical and social aspects of maturation. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the concerns and information needs of adolescents regarding menarche and first sexual intercourse. Methods: Questions about menarche or first sexual intercourse were obtained from Yahoo Answe...
Article
Aims Diabetes is often diagnosed late. This study aimed to assess the possibility for earlier detection of diabetes from search data, using predictive models trained on large-scale data. Methods We extracted all English-language queries made by people in the USA to Bing during 1 year and identified queries containing symptoms of diabetes. We compa...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Celiac disease, a common immune-based disease triggered by gluten, has diverse clinical manifestations, and the relative distribution of symptoms leading to diagnosis has not been well characterized in the population. Objective: This study aimed to use search engine data to identify a set of symptoms and conditions that would identif...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Brief intervention is a critical method for identifying patients with problematic substance use in primary care settings and for motivating them to consider treatment options. However, despite considerable evidence of delay discounting in patients with substance use disorders, most brief advice by physicians focuses on the long-term ne...
Article
Full-text available
In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many Democrats reported significant increases in stress, depression, and anxiety. Were these increases real, or the product of expressive reporting? Using a unique data set of searches by more than 1 million Bing users before and after the election, we examine the changes in mental-health-related searches amon...
Preprint
Understanding the dynamics of infectious disease spread in a heterogeneous population is an important factor in designing control strategies. Here, we develop a novel tensor-driven multi-compartment version of the classic Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) model and apply it to Internet data to reveal information about the complex spatial structu...
Article
We investigate the impact of delay announcements on the coordination within hospital networks using a combination of empirical observations and numerical experi- ments. We offer empirical evidence that suggests that patients take delay information into account when choosing emergency service providers and that such information can help increase coo...
Article
To determine how mental illness (MI) stigma messaging on Twitter manifests after a mass shooting, using the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting (January 6, 2017) as a case study, we collected publicly available tweets about mental health/illness between December 23, 2016 and January 20, 2017 published from Florida (shooting location) and Virginia (com...
Article
Full-text available
Online advertising: healthier ads promote healthier living People who see specific health-promoting messages after searching online for weight-related terms are more likely to subsequently search for information on weight loss interventions. A team led by Elad Yom-Tov from Microsoft Research Israel in Herzeliya conducted a randomized trial involvin...
Article
Full-text available
In the original version of the published Article, there was an error in the caption to Table 1 which stated “None of the differences are statistically significant (χ2, two-sided, p > 0.05)”. This has been changed to “The 18–24 year old are over-represented in the all user treatment population, while the 50–64 year old are underrepresented in both t...
Conference Paper
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a slowly progressing neurodegenerative disease with early manifestation of motor signs. Recently, there has been a growing interest in developing automatic tools that can assess motor function in PD patients. Here we show that mouse tracking data collected during people's interaction with a search engine can be used to d...