Most Popular

    Sorry. No data so far.


Winner of Amgen Patients | Choices | Empowerment Competition Emerging Star of HealthCare Engagement Award
Mayo Clinic Award - LeftA winner of the Mayo Clinic iSpot Competition for Ideas that will Transform HealthcareMayo Clinic Award - R

What Patients Say Works Best for ADHD

February 22nd, 2011 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 3 Comments »

For the live-updated, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

Despite only being recognized as a disease for the past 20 years or so, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder seems to be fairly well understood, at least in terms of the effectiveness of treatments that patients report.

At CureTogether, 674 people have reported having ADHD, and 1,069 data points have been shared about treatment ratings.

So what works best for patients with ADHD? Exercise and Adderall take top spots in patient reports.

To navigate the graph above:

The top right quadrant shows the most popular and effective treatments, and the top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so they may be options to think about (e.g. Dexadrine, Vyvanse).

Treatments in the lower right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness (e.g. fish oil, green tea), and treatments in the lower left quadrant are reported as neither popular nor effective, so you may want to consider this when choosing a treatment (e.g. Strattera, Wellbutrin).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for almost 3 years now. We analyzed and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the twelfth in a series of infographics we’ve been publishing over the past few months. Of course, with each of these infographics, there is a potential bias in patient self-selection and recall. Every research study has some bias, so we present these findings as just what they are – patient-reported data – to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research. Stay tuned for more and please let us know in the comments below if this was helpful or interesting for you.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in ADHD. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Surprising New Data: What Really Helps Patients With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

February 3rd, 2011 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 29 Comments »

For the live-updated, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a puzzle. People with CFS live with incapacitating exhaustion, as well as a host of other unpleasant symptoms, and they often don’t know what to do to feel better.

But I didn’t realize how much of a puzzle CFS really was until I saw this data (in the infographic above). It is such a poorly understood condition that the treatments reported to help most are predominantly lifestyle changes, while the medical treatments are predominantly reported to produce negative effects. This would suggest that medicine today doesn’t know how to effectively treat CFS.

Here at CureTogether, 1,319 people have reported having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and 6,524 data points have been shared about symptoms experienced and treatments tried.

So what really helps patients with CFS? Rest, dietary changes, and meditation take top spots in patient reports.

To navigate the graph above:

The top right quadrant shows the most popular and effective treatments, and the top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so they may be options to think about (e.g. Low-Dose Naltrexone, Far Infrared Heat).

Treatments in the lower right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness or, in the red section, actually make things worse (e.g. caffeine, alcohol), and treatments in the lower left quadrant are reported as neither popular nor effective, so you may want to steer clear (e.g. Paxil, Zoloft).

Interesting note: The one lifestyle change that doesn’t seem to help is exercise, which is an anomaly worth further investigation. There is much more to be said about CFS and response to exercise – my co-founder Daniel Reda will discuss this in a future post.

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for over 2 1/2 years now. We analyzed and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the eleventh in a series of infographics we’ve been publishing over the past few months. Of course, with each of these infographics, there is inherent bias in patient self-selection and recall. Every research study has some bias, so we present these findings as just what they are – patient-reported data – to stimulate discussion and generate new insights for further research. Stay tuned for more and please let us know in the comments below if this was helpful or interesting for you – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in CFS. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Migraine Symptom Predicts Response to Imitrex

January 11th, 2011 Daniel Reda Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 24 Comments »

When we launched CureTogether in 2008, we believed that if we could simply ask thousands of people about the details of their experience with different health conditions; gather their responses in a structured, quantitative way; and apply the right algorithms to that data; important discoveries would emerge that could reduce needless suffering.

Considering how valuable good health is to all of us, and how much time and money is spent each year to maintain it, it seems incredibly wasteful for millions of people to leave, locked in their heads, detailed knowledge about their experience with conditions, symptoms and treatments.

Migraine was one of the first conditions added to CureTogether, and one for which we’ve gathered the most data. One of the most popular and highest rated treatments is Imitrex (Sumatriptan). Most people who try Imitrex report an improvement in their symptoms, but a significant 11% report feeling “much worse” after taking it.

There are two good reasons why someone with Migraine would want to know how their risk of having a negative reaction compares to the average: 1) Migraines are hard enough to endure on their own – you don’t want a negative reaction to a treatment to make it even harder and 2) Imitrex is expensive – costing as much as $30 per tablet!

We were interested in whether differences in symptoms might account for some people reacting negatively to a treatment that otherwise helped so many people feel better. So, starting with a subset of 38 Migraine symptoms that at least 100 members had reported having, and at least 100 members had reported not having, and for which all members had also provided effectiveness ratings for Imitrex, we segmented members into two groups:

Group A = those who reported having the symptom
Group B = those who reported not having the symptom

We then further segmented these members according to how they rated Imitrex:
- major improvement
- moderate improvement
- no effect or uncertain
- made it slightly worse
- made it much worse

To determine which symptoms had the greatest influence on negative ratings of Imitrex, we calculated, for each row, the negative response ratio (NRR) as follows:

NRR = p(MW|Y) / p(MW|N)

where:
- p(MW|Y) = the fraction of members having the symptom who rated Imitrex “much worse”
- p(MW|N) = the fraction of members NOT having the symptom who rated Imitrex “much worse”

After ranking the symptoms from highest to lowest NRR, ”Vertigo / Dizziness” came out on top, with an NRR of 4.2x.

Among CureTogether members with Migraine, the overall probability of reporting a “much worse” response to Imitrex is 11%. Of those who reported not having “Vertigo / Dizziness”, only 4.0% reported a “much worse” response to Imitrex. Of those who reported having “Vertigo / Dizziness”, 17% reported a “much worse” response. Thus, members who reported “Vertigo / Dizziness” were 4.2x more likely to report a “much worse” response.

To test for significance, we needed to determine the probability that a 4.2x (or more extreme) NRR could be generated by chance, rather than as a result of a genuine influence. Our null hypothesis was that whether someone had, or did not have, Vertigo / Dizziness had no effect on Imitrex ratings. We generated 1 million fake datasets by randomly permuting the User ID’s for Imitrex ratings, pairing members of Groups A and B with real, but random Imitrex ratings, rather than their own, and measuring the NRR each time.

The frequency of a 4.2x NRR within the fake datasets would indicate the probability that the such a value could be generated by chance, assuming the null hypothesis were true. We ran the analysis and plotted the sampling distribution of 1 million NRRs as a histogram:

An NRR of 4.2x would be generated with a probability of 2.44e-4 – i.e. only one in ~4,000 times would we see such a result by chance if the null hypothesis were true. Usually, scientists consider a p-value of < 0.05 to be significant, so this is a very significant result, even if you factor in the fact that we only discovered the 4.2x result after sorting 38 symptoms.

But dizziness is a known side-effect of Imitrex. How do we know that those CureTogether members who tried Imitrex were not just more likely to report dizziness as a side-effect, rather than as a symptom prior to trying Imitrex? How do we know that Vertigo / Dizziness actually predicts response to Imitrex? Well, if it were a side-effect, then we would expect members who tried Imitrex to be more likely to report significantly more Vertigo/Dizziness. Here’s what the data says:

While 76% of those who tried Imitrex (224/293) reported Vertigo / Dizziness, 72% of those who did NOT try Imitrex (246/340) also reported it. There is only a 5% difference between these two groups, in contrast to the 4.2x difference above. While this may seem counterintuitive, keep in mind that the probability of reporting a symptom, given that you have tried a treatment is not the same thing as the probability of giving a treatment a negative rating, given that you’ve had the symptom. p(s|t) != p(mw|s).

Now, there is one caveat – we cannot assume that these results apply to all Migraine sufferers. Although we see promising early indications that CureTogether members are representative of the general population, we are not ready to make that claim conclusively.

Thus, we have demonstrated that, among CureTogether members with Migraine at least, having Vertigo / Dizziness as a symptom increases the chance of reporting a “much worse” response to Imitrex by 4.2x, from 4.0% to 17%.

We are enthusiastic to have this result confirm our initial belief in the power of CureTogether’s approach to health research. We also believe this is the first of many predictive discoveries across the 500+ conditions for which we continue to gather data.

Thank you to our members who took the time to participate in our surveys. And special thanks to Dr. Will Dampier, Research Assistant Professor at Drexel University School of Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, for his help with the statistical analysis.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The Single Best Treatment for the Common Cold

November 29th, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 5 Comments »

For the live-updated, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

If you have an after-Thanksgiving cold, this post is for you. When it comes to our old friend the common cold, it turns out that the simplest remedy may be the best.

At CureTogether, 139 people who have experienced the Common Cold have come together to share 1,079 data points about treatments they had tried and how well they worked or didn’t work.

So what is the single best, winning treatment that patients have reported? You guessed it: SLEEP.

To navigate the graph above, the top right quadrant shows the most popular and effective treatments, the top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so they may be options to think about (e.g. neti pot, Dayquil).

Treatments in the lower right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness (e.g. Vitamin C, orange juice), and treatments in the lower left quadrant are reported as neither popular nor effective, so you may want to steer clear (e.g. Airborne, whiskey).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for over 2 years now. We analyzed and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the tenth in a series of infographics we’ve been publishing over the past few months. Stay tuned for more and please let us know in the comments below if this was helpful or interesting for you – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or might have a cold. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

For Allergies, Drugs Work Surprisingly Well

September 20th, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 6 Comments »

For the live-updated, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

Well, this is a surprise.

In almost every single other infographic we’ve released, lifestyle changes have been at the top of the list of what works best, and drugs have been closer to the bottom. But the story is different for allergies, as you can see in the picture above.

At CureTogether, 260 people with Allergies have come together to share 1,769 data points about treatments they had tried and how well they worked or didn’t work.

So what are the winning treatments that patients have reported? From the infographic above:

avoiding allergens, Benadryl, sinus irrigation, Claritin, and Zyrtec

The top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so they may be options to talk to your doctor about (Prednisone, Xyzal, Cortaid).

Treatments in the lower-right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness, so presumably if fewer people tried these, they would be free to find more effective treatments elsewhere (homeopathy, calcium, acupuncture).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for over 2 years now. We anonymized, analyzed, and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the ninth in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Allergies. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The Winning Treatments for Fibromyalgia Are… (Not Drugs)

September 9th, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 17 Comments »

For the live-updated, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

Imagine being a woman living every day in chronic pain and being super sensitive to pressure or touch on your body. For 2-4% of the population, Fibromyalgia is part of daily existence. The ratio of women to men affected is 9:1, and there is no current cure.

At CureTogether, 376 people with Fibromyalgia have come together to share 1,567 data points about treatments they had tried and how well they worked or didn’t work.

So what are the winning treatments that patients have reported? From the infographic above:

rest, heat, relaxation, dietary changes, and Codeine

The top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so presumably if more people tried these, they would be helped (gluten-free and sugar-reduced diets, codeine).

Treatments in the lower-right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness, so presumably if fewer people tried these, they would be free to find more effective treatments elsewhere (Lyrica, Elavil).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for almost 2 years now. We anonymized, analyzed, and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the seventh in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Fibromyalgia. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

7 Surprisingly Simple Treatments for Female Pain

June 23rd, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 2 Comments »

For the interactive version of this infographic and some statistical geekery, click here.


Women walking around with no underwear?

No, this is not something from an adult site, it’s the treatment reported to be most effective in a live, online survey of 750 patients with vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain) at CureTogether.

Yes, I also live with vulvodynia, like 18% of US women. And yes, I’ve definitely gone “free” on painful days – it’s not something a doctor ever told me, just something I found really helped.

So what are the 7 surprisingly simple treatments that patients have reported? From the infographic above:

no underwear, ice, physical therapy, “clitoral distraction”, rinsing with water after urination, going gluten-free, and doing Tai Chi

The top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so presumably if more people tried these, they would be helped (gluten-free diet, Tai Chi).

Treatments in the lower-right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness, so presumably if fewer people tried these, they would be free to find more effective treatments elsewhere (antibiotics, steroid cream).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for almost 2 years now. We anonymized, analyzed, and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the sixth in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Vulvodynia. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Marijuana Better Than Chiropractic For Back Pain?

May 25th, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 5 Comments »

For the interactive version of this infographic and some statistical geekery, click here.

When your back hurts, is your first thought, “Where’s the marijuana?”

I’m guessing not.

But Back Pain is the #2 condition at CureTogether, with 1188 people reporting their experiences, and this is their collective wisdom. If you look at the infographic above, the most popular and effective treatments reported are on the top right – hot packs, physical therapy, stretching, exercise, massage.

The top left quadrant shows below-average usage, but above-average effectiveness, so presumably if more people tried these, they would be helped (marijuana, Oxycodone, yoga, and Pilates).

Those in the lower-right quadrant have above-average usage but below-average effectiveness, so presumably if fewer people tried these, they would be free to find more effective treatments elsewhere (chiropractic adjustments, ice packs, Ibuprofen).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for almost 2 years now. We anonymized, analyzed, and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the fifth in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Back Pain. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

9 Most Effective Anxiety Treatments

May 20th, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 8 Comments »

For the interactive version of this infographic, click here.

1,303 people have spoken. Anxiety is the biggest community at CureTogether, and here’s what these brave people have to say.

The top right square of the infographic above shows the most popular, most effective treatments for anxiety. Exercise, therapy, breathing, meditation, yoga, avoiding caffeine, relaxation, massage – the non-invasive, simple alternative answers seem to work very well.

Drugs such as Alprazolam and Lorazepam were also reported as effective, but not as many people had tried them.

If you have anxiety, does this agree with your experience?

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for almost 2 years now. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the fourth in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Anxiety. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Does Masturbation Work For Insomnia?

May 12th, 2010 Alexandra Carmichael Posted in Infographics, Research Findings 4 Comments »

For the interactive version of this infographic, click here.

What?

It’s true, folks. Masturbation is both popular and effective for treating insomnia. So say 849 patients who self-reported their Insomnia symptoms and treatments at CureTogether.

It doesn’t seem either scientific or appropriate to go into a personal story here, so I’ll spare you the details.

But it is interesting to note that for insomnia, some of the pharmaceutical options seem to be quite effective. We saw the opposite with Migraine and Depression, where natural alternatives beat drugs.

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for almost 2 years now. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the third in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at alexandra@curetogether.com.

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Insomnia. Thank you!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button