Re: web based health studies

Ian Goddard (
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 22:03:37 -0400

At 05:27 PM 9/25/98 -0700, Spike Jones wrote:
>Ian Goddard wrote:
>> Form of vitamin E may prevent breast cancer:

>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
>complete medical history, form the proverbial info-nudist colony, in
>order to
>determine if vitamins prevent breast cancer? spike

IAN: Extracting the signal from numerous anecdotal claims might be almost impossible, particularly if you factor in the possibility of intentional disinformation that could be inserted freely by various interested parties for one reason or another. I think we have to rely ultimately on controlled laboratory research.

A project your talking about could be done side-by- side and see if it comes of similar conclusions. I'm not sure I see what the privacy concerns are, assuming people submit such personal information voluntarily.

VISIT Ian Williams Goddard -------->