How It Works
HealthCrowds is intended to provide an online, searchable database that aggregates the experiences of many users on a wide array of lifestyle manipulations including the effect of different diets, supplements, lifestyle activities and drugs. Its focus is on the effect of these manipulations on general health and also particular health ailments. Our mission is to provide a platform for individuals to search among a diverse and dynamic collection of individual data stored in the database that is continually growing and expanding in scope and depth.
When a user registers, they are given the opportunity to record behaviors they undertake for better health, as well as behaviors that they avoid for better health. They are also quizzed on their general health status, as well as biographical information such as location, age, height, weight, blood pressure, physical exam results, etc. Providing all of this information is optional, but vastly improves the power and utility of the site. Registered users can then nominate health ailments and whether a particular treatment or set of treatments improved or made the ailment worse, as well as identify any side effects that accompanied the intervention. Information is also collected concerning the time of day and frequency of behaviors and treatments, and the dosages involved.
Other users can then search this database to find either treatments that had an effect on nominated symptoms, or symptoms that were affected by a nominated treatment. Users can also see a list of healthy and unhealthy behaviors based on the health status of users who provided the information. Proprietary algorithms are used to rank and compare the outcomes. Users can then drill down and see information on particular treatments including the relative effectiveness of the treatments at different times of the day, and dosage information. Registered users can customize these results based on biographical information that they have provided.
By collecting all of this information, the database allows not only the main effects of different health behaviors to be determined, but also interactions that can produce the greatest barrier to discovering health treatments that work. For example, some individuals may report that a treatment is effective in alleviating a symptom, while others report just the opposite, that it exacerbates some symptom. It might turn out, however, that what differentiates these two outcomes is that individuals reporting the treatment as being beneficial are taking the supplement in the morning, while those taking the same dose at night have a negative outcome. Or perhaps a treatment only produces side effects in users who also report getting insufficient sleep, or in males but not females, or individuals who are relatively active but not those who are inactive? This maddening and dizzying array of associations is difficult, if not impossible, to determine when reading case reports of individual user experiences on blogs and forums. The aggregated data in HealthCrowds, however, allows these often intractable interactions to become clear.
Feel free to poke around our site completely anonymously. But, if you want to get the real value and full potential out of our database, we encourage you to Register and add your data. Registration is free. As a registered user, you may remain anonymous or you may include information about your identity. It is up to you. We have a strict Privacy Policy, and your data and user information will be protected behind secure software barriers. HealthCrowds will never share your personal information with third parties or for commercial interests.