2 posts tagged “patient research”

Lupus flares: Stats and infographics based on the PatientsLikeMe community’s experiences

Posted December 18th, 2017 by

Lupus flares are hard to define. In fact, there wasn’t a clear clinical definition of flares until 2010 (and even that definition is pretty broad).

If you’re living with lupus, how would you define a flare? What do you experience during one? To gain a deeper understanding of flares from the patient perspective, the PatientsLikeMe research team partnered with Takeda Pharmaceuticals to study our online community’s discussions and data related to flares. Check out these graphics that show some of the key findings about flares among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common form of lupus.

A mix of symptoms

Below are the five symptoms researchers spotted most frequently in SLE forum posts about flares. Other flare symptoms mentioned in the forum include: nausea, fever/flu, lupus fog, hair loss, migraine, back pain, blood pressure, bloody nose, insomnia, mental health effects, panic, rib pain, skin sensitivity, swollen glands, weakness, weight gain, lower GI, face tumor, hives, infection, vasculitis, and voice effects.

“I was really flaring…”

PatientsLikeMe researchers say that a flare is “a cluster of symptoms which usually includes pain and fatigue, at a minimum.” But the specifics may vary: Everyone describes their flares — and their duration — differently. Here are just a couple of the forum posts researchers highlighted.

Living with more than lupus

“…and then I had a flare of lupus, RA and Sjogren’s that still has not gone away,” one member wrote in the forum. Many members who’ve discussed their flares have also shared which other conditions they’ve been diagnosed with in addition to lupus.

If you’re living with lupus, how would you describe what happens during your flares? How long do they tend to last? Do you have other conditions that make your flares worse or hard to identify? Share your experiences here, or — even better — join PatientsLikeMe to learn from and connect with nearly 30,000 people living with lupus.

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Personalized Medicine: Making It All About You

Posted July 29th, 2010 by

pmtopbannerEarlier this year, the University of Arizona hosted a unique meeting for scientists, policy makers, and law experts to explore the legal, ethical, and policy implications of personalized medicine. The opening keynote was by Dr. Lee Hartwell, 2001 Nobel Prize recipient in Medicine / Physiology and Director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and he invited the audience to consider the role of patients in research. He stated that there was an “increasingly important role for patients in this process” and that scientists currently “rely on trial data, totally insufficient to the problem.”  Dr. Hartwell also stated that “when you talk to patients, they want to make a contribution. They would like their medical info made useful to other people. The only thing that keeps them from doing so is the threat of losing their life insurance or losing their job.” The views of pioneers such as Dr. Hartwell are important in medicine and it was energizing to hear such a well regarded figure espousing a philosophy with which we so strongly agree.

The lunchtime speaker was David Ewing Duncan, a journalist whose recent book “Experimental Man” detailed his journey to try and undergo every medical test available to science (including genetics, brain scans, and lab measures) in order to find out more about his health risks and how to live the best life possible. As the cost of genetic sequencing comes down to the mythical “$1,000 genome,” we may one day all take the same journey as Duncan to explore how much of our health outcomes are determined by data accessible to us right now. There will undoubtedly be ethical and moral conundrums along the way as genetic science moves from the specialist clinic to all of us as consumers, but ultimately understanding your own DNA is as much of a right as being able to look in the mirror.

Moving from genotype to phenotype, I gave a presentation in the afternoon about our work at PatientsLikeMe.  More specifically, I focused on how our platform allow patients with serious medical conditions to find out where they stand in the context of other patients like them, and how systems like ours might one day be able to help guide them to the most effective treatments to improve their outcomes.  Highlights from my presentation are now on our YouTube page.

PatientsLikeMe member pwicks