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Crowdsourcing Disease Symptoms

I heard on this morning about a woman who noticed that whenever her severely autistic child had a high fever, the symptoms of his 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 “” 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.

[Tweet “Crowdsourcing Disease Symptoms via @e_Strategy #Healthcare”]

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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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

2 Comments

  1. Michael M. on December 7, 2007 at 12:17 00 am CST

    This actually sounds a lot like what one of the founders of the Experience Project discussed in a Stanford Entrepreneur podcast. http://www.experienceproject.com/

    Their aim didn’t seem to be at exactly the same level you mention. They were more interested in getting people with similar experiences in touch with one another. I see this as potentially a way to find people that have this shared experience.



  2. Michael M. on December 6, 2007 at 5:17 35 pm CST

    This actually sounds a lot like what one of the founders of the Experience Project discussed in a Stanford Entrepreneur podcast. http://www.experienceproject.com/

    Their aim didn’t seem to be at exactly the same level you mention. They were more interested in getting people with similar experiences in touch with one another. I see this as potentially a way to find people that have this shared experience.



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