Some weeks ago John Scott directed me to two sites about which he was seriously excited – two facets of what he called ‘a new type of site for ‘crowd-source health solutions‘ – leveraging the experience of others to make more informed health decisions for oneself. LOVE it! More power to the patient!’
I have only just had a chance to look at them – and thought I would pass the message on… However, a warning…
No matter how informed we have made ourselves, very few of us have the in-depth knowlege which is gained from years spent in medical college and in the wards of hospitals. Hugely helpful and useful though self help and interaction with other sufferers can be, please always get medical conditions assessed and checked by your GP or a specialist, as there may be an underlying problem which you are simply not qualified or experienced enough to recognise. That said, we all know that there are many states of ill health which do not appear to be caused by any underlying organic problem and which totally fail to respond to conventional treatment, and for these, such self help sites can be invaluable. So…
www.curetogether.com offers you four options:
1. Check your symptoms against their database to see what conditions match your symptoms and what might be making you worse.
2. Choose treatments by seeing which treatments are most popular for each condition.
3. Track your progress by learning how to assess what effect treatments or dietary intervention are having.
4. Connect with your peers – probably the most useful facility. Learn from others’ experiences what symptoms may mean and what treatments may work.
To quote what they say about themselves:
Founded in 2004 by three MIT engineers…PatientsLikeMe is a privately funded company dedicated to creating…a community of patients, doctors, and organizations that inspires, informs, and empowers individuals…by providing patients with access to the tools, information, and experiences that they need to take control of their disease…. To make this happen, we’ve created a platform for collecting and sharing real world, outcome-based, anonymised patient data and are establishing data-sharing partnerships with doctors, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, research organizations, and non-profits.
You can search the database by patients (nearly 10,000 of them), by treatments (including drugs, supplements, procedures, exercises, diet, psychotherapy, equipment and 353 ‘others’ which range from prayer to beer or magnetic wave stimulation), by symptoms or by research.
Finally, since John has to be the best possible advertisement for ‘self-help’ medicine (type John Scott into the search box on foodsmatter.com to get some idea of his extraordinary medical history) – please also check in to his blog on which he charts his hugely successful experiment with parasitic worms.