I heard a fascinating piece on MPR this morning about a woman who noticed that whenever her severely autistic child had a high fever, the symptoms of his autism fell away to the point where he could communicate with them normally.
When the fever fell, his severe autism returned.
The phenomenon is called the “fever effect” and researchers have apparently known about it for years.
The report got me to thinking that such phenomenon might be more quickly unearthed and, as a result, the aspects of diseases might be better and more fully understood, productive avenues of research might be more quickly and efficiently identified, and medical science for specific diseases might be more quickly and completely advanced if there were a way to crowdsource disease symptoms.
I don’t know if anyone’s thought of it, but wouldn’t it be enormously beneficial if there were some central location where anyone could contribute in a qualitative and quantitative manner their own anecdotal evidence of disease symptoms and phenomena like the “fever effect”?
I could see parents, family members, loved ones, disease sufferers and physicians all contributing to and researchers consulting with such a resource.
I haven’t really thought about what the technology for such a system might look like but I imagine that it could be some type of modified wiki format that would allow for open ended comment but would also be able to quantify the number of people who had observed a specific symptom, for example.
Give me a comment below if you know of anyone who might be doing something like this or have any ideas about the topic, what such a system might look like and work, etc.
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