Google searches may be able to identify patterns in black mortality rates across the US, according to new research.
Academics at the University of Maryland found that areas with higher searches for the n-word had higher mortality rates among black people.
The study, published in the journal Plos One, is thought to be the first to link "racist" internet search terms with mortality rates.
Research suggests that racism is a major culprit that contributes to the gap in mortality between blacks and whites.
David H Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology in the University of Maryland
The researchers explain that previous studies looking at the link between racism and mortality rates have been flawed because they rely on people self-reporting if they've been the victims of racism - an act or sentiment that is often not shown overtly.
Such internet query-based measures may be less susceptible to self-censorship of socially unacceptable attitudes. They may also reflect those instances of racism that are covert or hidden.