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PatientsLikeMeInMotion™ 2015: Celebrating 7 years of PatientsLikeMe members giving back to their communities and raising awareness

For those of you who don’t know, our PatientsLikeMeInMotion™ program has been running since 2009—how time flies! Join us in celebrating our 7th year with a recap of 2014, our biggest year so far! Last year, we had the honor of supporting 2192 members across 32 states that participated in a range of events and had a lot of fun along the way! Some of the events included a motorcycle ride, a golf tournament, a MuckFest, a Halloween Run and Relay, and a Cake Sale to boot! If you’re unfamiliar with how it works, check out our guidelines – we sponsor 3-star members (super health data donors) who form teams and fundraise with their local nonprofits. And these advocates receive a donation, free team t-shirts and more! Here’s what some members had to say: “Advocacy is huge, because without voices out there speaking on our behalf, we would never get any funding or support.” “It is thanks to these fundraisers that there are now therapeutic options for patients like us. When I was first diagnosed, there was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTHING. While there is still no cure, we have evidence that research is making strides and there is greater reason to hope. I have always been …

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Making sure conferences are “Patients Included”

Picture this: you’re a medical professional and are about to open the doors to a conference you’ve spent years pulling together. You’ve booked your venue, have your sponsors lined up, got top headliners to give keynotes, picked your Twitter hashtag and have invited every industry pro to be a part of the event. In walk the physicians; check. Allied health professionals; check. Pharmacists; check. Industry leaders, life science CEO’s and top researchers; check, check, check. Notice anyone that’s missing? If medical conferences exist to create a network, to stimulate new collaborations, overturn redundant thinking, and to help attendees return to work reinvigorated, the conference that excludes patients misses hearing the most important voices in medicine. But luckily for you, patients living with a variety of conditions aren’t just sitting on the sidelines anymore. They’re proactively participating in these conferences any way they can, even if that means going through the virtual window. They watch the hashtag, pose questions, say they wish the conference were live-streamed, and ask attendees to smuggle out knowledge they could use to improve their care or offer them hope. If they’re ignored or marginalized they take to the Twittersphere and let their displeasure be known. “The …

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Throwback Thursday: Paul discusses what happens when trial participants realize they hold the power

Just about a year ago, PatientsLikeMe’s Paul Wicks, PhD, Vice President of Innovation, wrote a blog post about what happens when trial participants realize they hold the power in clinical trials. He began his early experiences with ALS patients and clinical trials, but then fast-forwarded to how PatientsLikeMe members have replicated a clinical trial, started sharing their data with leading researchers to debunk alternative “cures” for their disease and even started taking trials into their own hands. Read what else Paul had to say here. And if you’re interested in learning more, click below to watch Paul talk about patients leading the direction of clinical research in an interview with BioMed Central: Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

PatientsLikeMe and AstraZeneca announce global research collaboration

           Five-year agreement focused on improving health outcomes for patients across main therapy areas CAMBRIDGE, MA, April 13, 2015—In a major step forward to make patient-centric evidence a cornerstone of scientific discovery and development, PatientsLikeMe and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) have signed a five-year agreement to provide access to PatientsLikeMe’s global network in support of AstraZeneca’s patient-driven research initiatives. AstraZeneca will use patient-reported data from PatientsLikeMe to shape future medicine development and help improve outcomes across its main therapeutic areas, with an initial focus on respiratory disease, lupus, diabetes and oncology. “Understanding what patients are experiencing every day and how they define the value of their treatments are fundamental to our ability to push the boundaries of science in developing the next-generation of medicines,” said Briggs Morrison, EVP Global Medicines Development, AstraZeneca. “Our partnership with PatientsLikeMe will help us to harness the important perspectives of patients through their advanced technology and real-world, real-time evidence to support our research and development programs.” The agreement is the latest to embrace PatientsLikeMe’s global network, which delivers a unique depth and breadth of data about the patient. Ed Godber, Executive Vice President of Life Sciences Ventures, said the wide-ranging collaboration with AstraZeneca …

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New partner, Schwartz Center, calls for nominations: National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year

Remember a time when you were in the hospital or doctor’s office, feeling nervous and anxious about a shot, treatment or diagnosis? And remember there was someone who made you feel safe, answered all your questions, or did something small that had a big impact? It’s like what Ken Schwartz said during his battle with lung cancer, “These acts of kindness – the simple human touch from my caregivers – have made the unbearable bearable.” Those experiences inspired Ken to create an outline for an organization to promote compassionate care so that patients and their caregivers can relate to one other in a way that provides hope to the patient, support to caregivers and sustenance to the healing process. And just days before his death in 1995, he founded the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. For 16 of the last 20 years the Schwartz Center has been honoring extraordinary professional caregivers and teams who embody characteristics of compassionate care, like listening carefully, showing empathy, instilling hope and more. We’re proud to be partnered with them in their continued efforts. And you can be a part of it, too. The Schwartz Center is calling for nominations for its National Compassionate Caregiver …

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Patients as Partners: Hallucinations and Parkinson’s disease questionnaire results

It’s time for another Patients as Partners post, and today, we’re happy to share the results of the Hallucinations and Parkinson’s disease questionnaire. In March 2014, more than 500 PatientsLikeMe members living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) took part in an Open Research Exchange (ORE) questionnaire about their condition. They worked with Dennis Chan and Ruth Wood from the University of Cambridge to understand a symptom called an extracampine hallucination, which is the sense of a presence beside or behind you even when there’s nothing or nobody there. So, unlike visual hallucinations, the presence can only be sensed or felt, not seen. Everything the community shared will help researchers develop a new tool to better measure this type of hallucination and alert doctors and care teams to ask about this symptom earlier rather than later. Read the results here. What’s ORE all about again? PatientsLikeMe’s ORE platform gives patients the chance to not only check an answer box, but also share their feedback on each question in a researcher’s health measure. They can tell our research partners what makes sense, what doesn’t, and how relevant the overall tool is to their condition. It’s all about collaborating with patients as partners to …

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PatientsLikeMe member Tam builds first-ever ‘by patients, for patients’ health measure on the Open Research Exchange

Back in March last year, we shared on the blog about a new grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that would help support two patient-led projects on our Open Research Exchange (ORE) , a platform that brings patients and researchers together to develop the most effective tools for measuring disease. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community, and we’re excited to share that one of those projects is very close to being completed. Tam is living with multiple sclerosis (MS), and she’s been a PatientsLikeMe member for more than 4 years. After her diagnosis and experiences with her doctors not “getting” what pain means to her, Tam decided to create a new tool for anyone who might be experiencing chronic pain. Her idea is to build a measure that can help doctors better understand and communicate with patients about pain. Watch her video above to learn about her journey and listen to her explain her inspiration behind the new ORE project. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word for MS and chronic pain.

Open funding for open science to accelerate ALS research: An interview with Prize4Life CEO Shay Rishoni

Just about a year ago, we teamed up with Sage Bionetworks and TED Fellow Dr. Max Little for an ongoing Parkinson’s disease (PD) project called the Patient Voice Analysis (PVA).   The big idea: combine data from two sources – phone-based voice recordings and patient reported data from PatientsLikeMe’s Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (PDRS). Then, make the de-identified data sets available to the broader research community on Sage Bionetworks’ cloud-based computational research platform (http://www.synapse.org) to develop new tools to track PD disease progression. We were overwhelmed by the response from the PatientsLikeMe PD community. More than 650 members provided 851 voice samples, and 779 of those were matched to the PDRS symptom data entered.   What’s next for open science? Sage Bionetworks is working with the distributed DREAM community and ALS non-profit Prize4Life on another open science challenge alongside called the ALS Stratification DREAM Challenge. How does it all fit together? The “Fund the Prize” campaign is the first of its kind effort to make the path for accelerating drug development completely open – the patient data is open access, the research is open, global and collaborative, and the funding is crowd-based. The ALS Stratification Challenge, opening in Spring 2015, will …

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PatientsLikeMe and USF Health collaborate to empower cancer patients

Partnership Marks the First Between the Patient Network and an Academic Health Center CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—December 4, 2014—PatientsLikeMe and the USF Health Internal Medicine Department have partnered to improve health outcomes for multiple myeloma patients. People living with multiple myeloma and other cancers will be directed to PatientsLikeMe to access patient-reported symptom and treatment information and connect with others to guide their treatment discussions and decisions. The partnership is PatientsLikeMe’s first with an academic health center. The companies will exchange and publish information on multiple myeloma on their websites and work collaboratively with PatientsLikeMe members to continuously enhance the health and education of people living with the condition. The organizations also expect to collaborate on specific research initiatives in the future. USF Health, an integral part of the University of South Florida (USF), is a partnership between USF’s health-related colleges and schools and the USF Physician’s Group. “It is an honor as a cancer physician and scientist to become part of a larger community of patients with multiple myeloma,” said Damian Laber MD, Hematology/Oncology division chief at USF and senior member at Moffitt Cancer Center. “This partnership enables patients and their families worldwide to receive the most relevant and current medical …

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Nola’s new bathroom

It’s rare that we’re surprised by the power of connection in the PatientsLikeMe community—we see members connect everyday and transform their lives through the exchange of information. This story extends beyond shared knowledge, though; it displays the powerful bonds of internet friends who offered truly life-changing support from opposite coasts. Below, listen to them tell their amazing story to our community moderators Sarah and Jeanette. Click to learn how Gary helped Nola regain her independence, her ability to clean herself, and most importantly, her dignity. Nola (6.02x10e23) lives with progressive MS in California. In the past ten years, she’s gone from walking to slightly limping, to using a cane and then a walker. Now, she’s in a wheelchair and cannot use her right arm. “I had to keep adjusting slowly how I did any little thing. How could I write a check? How could I make something to eat? Or get something to drink? Or just get to the bathroom and back? It’s constant change and you have to accept the change and learn how to adapt and try to still be able to get things done that you want done. You’re going to have do it in some very different ways that …

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