Re: web based health studies

Spike Jones (
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 17:27:56 -0700

Ian Goddard wrote:

> Form of vitamin E may prevent breast cancer:

...ian thanks for the links. please let me take another run at a thread that
i attempted some weeks ago, but im afraid the point was lost in a storm of
protest over privacy concerns.

recently while shopping for a new car, i visited websites for owners of that model. i learned more about potential problems with that particular
model from that website in one afternoon than i would have learned in years
of collecting anecdotal evidence. this is simply because the sample size (all
owners who like to post on the web) is enormous compared to all the friends
i am ever likely to have. {8^D the web is an enormously powerful tool in the advance of humankind, yet we are not using it anywhere near its
mind boggling potential.

nowthen, could not the same web facilitated experience base technique be

applied to health concerns? are not issues regarding health of our bodies far
more critical than the health of our cars? friends, we standing on the threshold
of a dream.

please work with me, privacy people: how can we use the web to compile a

database on quiet, elusive signals (such as the effect of vitamin e on breast cancer)?
how can we extract the critical signal while ensuring the participants privacy enough
to encourage widespread participation in web based health studies? would we
need a large group of people to post every habit, complete diet information,
complete medical history, form the proverbial info-nudist colony, in order to
determine if vitamins prevent breast cancer? spike