Research

A patient’s perspective: member Gary reports back from the FDA public meeting on Parkinson’s disease

Back in September, Sally Okun, Vice President of Advocacy, Policy and Patient Safety, and community moderator Molly Cotter, attended the FDA public meeting on Parkinson’s disease (PD) along with PatientsLikeMe member Gary (tupelo). We posted some interesting developments from the meeting in the forum, but we also caught up with Gary for his perspective on the event. Here’s what he had to say: Why did you want to be part of the FDA public meeting? On the day I was diagnosed, back in 2012, I spent a great deal of time reflecting on my life. I thought a lot about how Parkinson’s disease will impact me and my family in the future. On that day I made a commitment to myself that I was going to take control, to the best of my ability, on the course of the disease progression, and would do anything possible to find a cure. I was determined to educate myself as much as possible about the disease, put together the best possible health care team, learn all I could about treatments currently in research, and participate in clinical trials. Parkinson’s was a new challenge in my life and I intended to tackle it like …

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Tackling brain illness, together

Our partners at One Mind are advocating for a better understanding of the brain in general, and they’ve narrowed it down to a single statement: Our brains need answers. And that’s why they launched the “Needs” campaign story, underneath the hashtag #BrainsNeedAnswers. Think about it – what does your brain, or the brain of a friend or family member, need? It’s not just about researching better treatments or improving the diagnostic process for conditions like PTS and TBI. Rather, it’s about everybody coming together to share their own experiences with brain injury to help raise awareness and increase general knowledge about brain health. Tankmartin, a PTS member of PatientsLikeMe, is the centerpiece of the campaign. Read what he had to say: If you’d like to participate in the #BrainsNeedAnswers campaign, visit One Mind’s website to learn more about how you can make a difference. And if you’re living with PTS, TBI or another mental health condition, reach out to others like you in the PatientsLikeMe community and find the answers to your own brain questions. Don’t forget to share this post on Twitter and help spread the word for #BrainsNeedAnswers.

Throwback Thursday: Diabetes and stress

Just about two years ago, nearly 600 members of the PatientsLikeMe community completed a survey called the Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS), a 17-item questionnaire which measures the amount and types of problems diabetes can cause in a person’s life. And today, we’re throwing it back to the summary of the results. Here’s what Dr. William Polonsky, the Founder and President of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, and the co-creator of the DDS, had to say at the time about diabetes and stress: “I believe it’s important to understand the physical, behavioral and emotional sides of illness. Diabetes, in particular, is so highly dependent on what people do every day.  It is, therefore, almost all about behavior− how do you talk yourself into taking on new tasks and making changes in your lifestyle, some of them which may seem not so pleasant or worthwhile, that you’d rather not do.” You might recognize Dr. Polonsky from his subsequent blog podcast and additional research with the WHYSTOP scale. You can view the results of the DDS as a PDF, but check out some of the graphs below.   Have you had an A1C test done in the past year? If you’re living with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, …

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ORE Researcher Series: Dr. Larry Alphs Talks PROs and Depression

Dr. Larry Alphs, the Therapeutic Area Leader in Psychiatry for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, shared about his research as part of PatientsLikeMe’s ORE Researcher Series. You’ve already listened to Dr. Tamara Kear and the McMaster University researchers – click below to watch Dr. Alphs speak about a new drug that could eventually treat suicidal thoughts.     What exactly is the ORE? 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 create the most effective tools for measuring disease. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

ORE Researcher Series: McMaster University

Last month, you met ORE researcher Tamara Kear, PhD., R.N., CNS, CNN, and you listened to her talk about her research on hypertension, one of the factors that can lead to a person developing kidney disease. Today, we’re introducing McMaster University Professor Gordon Guyatt and students Melody Ren and Reza Mirzaie. The question they are asking is “how are patients currently receiving bad news from a medical professional, and are the guidelines doctors have on delivering bad news actually correct?” Below, listen to the three researchers talk about their work and how the ORE platform and PatientsLikeMe made their research possible. What exactly is the ORE? 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 create the most effective tools for measuring disease. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

ORE Researcher Series: Tamara Kear is listening to kidney patients

Over the next few months, you’ll meet a few Open Research Exchange (ORE) researchers, and first up is Tamara Kear, PhD., R.N., CNS, CNN. She has over 20 years’ practice as a nurse caring for patients with kidney disease. Her research is focused on hypertension, one of the factors that can lead to a person developing kidney disease. Tamara has developed a scale for healthcare providers that helps them learn how well a patient is doing at home and identify barriers they are experiencing in managing their hypertension. Her goal is to develop a better tool. In her video, she explains her ORE research and her philosophy that patients should be “not just informers for researchers, but actually the researchers themselves.” What exactly is the ORE? 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 create the most effective tools for measuring disease. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

Sally Okun explains the new research collaboration with the FDA

Yesterday, we announced a new research collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will explore how patient-reported data can lead to new insights about drug safety. It’s the first time the FDA will analyze patient-generated data for pharmacovigilence (aka drug safety). But we’re no strangers to drug safety. Check out some of the previous work the community has helped to drive: PatientsLikeMe Offers Adverse Event Reporting for MS Patients Improving drug safety through the patient voice PatientsLikeMe and UCB open free online community for people with Epilepsy in the U.S. To learn more about this new (and unprecedented) collaboration, we talked to our very own Sally Okun, Vice President of Advocacy, Policy and Patient Safety. What will this collaboration do? Patients’ lives and well-being often depend upon medical products approved and regulated by the FDA. But most of the information we see on safety labels comes from clinical trials, which aren’t typically representative of the actual populations of patients who will take the medication. Working with us, the FDA will be able to see the real-world impact of taking medications over time, which can help identify benefits and risks earlier. The FDA isn’t just talking about patient-centricity; …

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PatientsLikeMe and the FDA Sign Research Collaboration Agreement

WASHINGTON D.C., June 15, 2015—PatientsLikeMe and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have signed a research collaboration agreement to determine how patient-reported data can give new insights into drug safety. Under the collaboration, PatientsLikeMe and the FDA will systematically explore the potential of patient-generated data to inform regulatory review activities related to risk assessment and risk management. The announcement was made at the start of the Drug Information Association’s (DIA) annual meeting in Washington D.C. PatientsLikeMe Co-Founder and President Ben Heywood said the agreement is an unprecedented step toward enhancing post-market surveillance and informing regulatory science. “Most clinical trials only represent the experience of several hundred or at most several thousand patients, making it impossible to anticipate all the potential side effects of drugs in the real world. Patient-generated data give a more complete picture about a drug’s safety by providing a window into patients’ lives and healthcare experiences over time. We’re very encouraged by the FDA’s action to evaluate newer sources of data to help identify benefits and risks earlier.” The cornerstone of the FDA’s post-approval drug safety surveillance is a spontaneous reporting system consisting of individual case safety reports. Reporting adverse events to the FDA is mandatory for …

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PatientsLikeMe Appoints Jason Johnson Executive Vice President and Head of R&D

CAMBRIDGE, MA, May 18, 2015—PatientsLikeMe today announced it has appointed Jason Johnson, PhD, as Executive Vice President and head of research and development (R&D). Johnson leads the company’s research, data science, and informatics teams, which focus on analyzing and merging patient-reported and other data types to develop models of disease progression and generate new insights about disease, treatments, and health. Johnson reports directly to CEO Martin Coulter. “Jason comes to us at a time when the industry is putting patients at the center of healthcare, and using more patient-reported data to guide business and operational decisions,” said Coulter. “Our research and informatics teams bring the data to life by extracting insight and meaning about the patient experience, and helping our partners see which medicines and therapeutic approaches will benefit patients the most. The combination of Jason’s leadership and our scientifically-validated data will be a powerful source of insight to guide discovery, development, and treatment decision making.” A renowned computational biologist and information science strategist, Johnson comes to PatientsLikeMe after spending 14 years at Merck, most recently as Associate Vice President for Scientific Informatics. In this role, Jason helped build Merck’s informatics and analytics capabilities and was responsible for applied math …

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What can you do to challenge ALS in May?

It’s been 23 years since the U.S. Congress first recognized May as ALS Awareness Month in 1992, and while progress towards new treatments has been slower than we’ve all hoped,  a lot has still happened since then. In 1995, Riluzole, the first treatment to alter the course of ALS, was approved by the FDA. In the 2000s, familial ALS was linked to 10 percent of cases, and new genes and mutations continue to be discovered every year.1 In 2006, the first-of-its-kind PatientsLikeMe ALS community, was launched, and now numbers over 7,400 strong. And just two short years later, those community members helped prove that lithium carbonate, a drug thought to affect ALS progression, was actually ineffective. This May, it’s time to spread awareness for the history of ALS and share everything we’ve learned to encourage new research that can lead to better treatments. In the United States, 5,600 people are diagnosed with ALS each year,2 which means that well over 100,000 have started their ALS journey since 1992. And in 1998, Stephen Heywood, the brother of our co-founders Ben and Jamie, was also diagnosed. They immediately went to work trying to find new ways to slow Stephen’s progression, and after …

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