Rare Illnesses, Diagnosed By The Crowd

CrowdMed, launched Tuesday, is one of several Web-based platforms that anyone can use to help diagnose mystery conditions.

What's the Latest Development?

On Tuesday, attendees at the TEDMed conference in Washington saw the launch of CrowdMed, a Web-based platform that, as its name implies, enlists the help of the public to solve difficult medical cases. It works by giving participants points that they can use to bet on one of a list of possible diagnoses. "This creates a prediction market, with diagnoses falling and rising in value based on their popularity...Algorithms then calculate the probability that each diagnosis will be correct." Eventually, the platform reveals the top three diagnoses, which the patient can then discuss with his or her doctor. Those who bet on the correct diagnosis receive more points to use with other cases.

What's the Big Idea?

CrowdMed is one of several platforms designed to help people who contract any of 7,000 or so "rare diseases" as commonly defined by American and European health agencies. Another new one, FindZebra, is a search engine that provides access to rare disease databases. Co-developer Radu Dragusin says that these platforms help bridge a gap between patients and clinicians: "[D]octors can't learn about all of these thousands of diseases with very low prevalence...It's very important to give [them] an aid."

pjhpix / Shutterstock.com

Read it at NewScientist

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

What is the Japanese blood type theory of personality?

In some Asian countries, what's in your blood determines who you are.

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • In Japan and South Korea, there is a common belief that blood types determine character much in the same way Western countries believe in the zodiac.
  • While there's little scientific evidence to back up the claim, the blood type theory of personality remains wildly popular.
  • However, how this theory came to be has its roots in a dark history.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less