3 posts from March, 2008

PatientsLikeMe Corporate Update: Q1 2008

Posted March 29th, 2008 by

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This month marks the two-year anniversary of our flagship ALS community. It’s amazing to reflect on what we’ve achieved in just two short years. Not only did we build the world’s largest treatment and outcome sharing communities for ALS (1,800+ patients), MS (4,500+ patients) and Parkinson’s (1,300+ patients), but this year we began evolving into the powerful research platform we always envisioned we could be.

At the heart of this research initiative are our new community reports, which analyze the makeup of our patient communities. In January, we released our first MS Community Report covering factors such as first symptoms, age of diagnosis, disease type, etc. Recently we released our ALS Community Report, with the Parkinson’s Community Report to follow shortly. You can find the much-anticipated results on the blog as well as the ALS forum.

But that’s just the beginning. Your commitment to collaborative learning has now driven our evolution to the next level. On March 7th, we launched the ALS Lithium Study. As co-founder Jamie Heywood wrote in a recent blog entry, “Today, we allow patients to begin to answer how to treat ALS.” What could be more central to our mission than that? We are delighted to collaborate with Humberto Macedo, a patient, and Karen Felzer, PhD, whose father has ALS, on the study. “Together…we will run the first real-time, real-world, open and non-blinded, patient-driven trial,” wrote Heywood.

The question at hand is: Does lithium slow ALS? With almost 150 patients participating to date, we already have more than eight times the number of participants as the most recent published study about lithium and ALS. Stay tuned as this exciting and unprecedented study continues. As always, thanks to everyone – whether involved in the study or not – for sharing your treatment data. You made this study possible, and we intend for it to be the first of many across our communities. The age of patient-led research is here!

Finally, we are thrilled to announce the March 23rd launch of our beta community for Mood Conditions, which coincided with the New York Times Magazine article, Practicing Patients. If you know anyone affected by Mood Conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or anxiety, please invite him or her to join PatientsLikeMe today.


PatientsLikeMe Featured in New York Times Magazine

Posted March 23rd, 2008 by

NYT picIn one of the greatest honors in our young company to date, PatientsLikeMe was featured in today’s New York Times Magazine. The article, entitled Practicing Patients, appropriately discusses the pros and cons associated with sharing data-rich personal health information in an open community.

PatientsLikeMe seeks to go a mile deeper than health-information sites like WebMD or online support groups like Daily Strength. The members of PatientsLikeMe don’t just share their experiences anecdotally; they quantify them, breaking down their symptoms and treatments into hard data. They note what hurts, where and for how long. They list their drugs and dosages and score how well they alleviate their symptoms. All this gets compiled over time, aggregated and crunched into tidy bar graphs and progress curves by the software behind the site. And it’s all open for comparison and analysis. By telling so much, the members of PatientsLikeMe are creating a rich database of disease treatment and patient experience.

With amazing patient successes balanced by medical leaders’ skepticism, author Thomas Goetz strikes a critical chord within the current healthcare debate. Is the American health system broken? Can patients fix it through aggregation of collective experience? Are patients to be trusted to report their own health conditions? What does PatientsLikeMe mean for the medical establishment?

PatientsLikeMe is a tool that allows patients to manage their disease with a sophistication and precision that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. The 7,000 members of PatientsLikeMe, in other words, are beta testers — they may be the vanguard of how we all will care and treat our résumé of chronic diseases.

The article cites the PatientsLikeMe Openness Philosophy; the manifesto that draws our company line in the sand. Openness can lead to better outcomes and accelerate research like never before. This is our goal for PatientsLikeMe. This isn’t health science fiction. It’s happening today with the help of thousands of patients.

So read the article–and join PatientsLikeMe–to see where you stand.

PatientsLikeMe member dwilliams