Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Datamining for Health

Users submit to the website lists of everything they eat everyday. This could be a tedious process, so the idea would be more viable if users are allowed to just send in receipts for everything they buy (food-wise), or fax them or scan and then e-mail them. That method would be imperfect, but still valuable since the whole system is statistical anyway. Doing that would work especially well with people living alone, but for families the system is aware that the receipts applies to a family unit.

Whenever somebody in the family of a user (or a user living alone) has a health issue, they report it to the website, and they can even report casual results of their physicals, blood tests, or pulse blood pressure and weight when they have these things done, or even answer questionnaires about subjective measures such as energy levels, concentration and general happiness.. users can do those things once, periodically, spuriously or not at all, if they so desire. but they *are* obliged to report any clinical health problems that may arise.

The website uses all this data to perform data mining and draw correlations between foods people eat (primarily on the level of granularity of their ingredients) and health issues, as well as any aspects of health statuses or changes thereof at all, whether negative or positive. This study should include pharmaceuticals along with food -- anything that's injested, really -- so users should also report their medications and over-the-counter stuff.

The results of a study like this could be invaluable, in fact, they would show in black and white all the things that 'til now the experts can only speculate about, including the damages caused by the things we're being sold as food.

Oh, the timespans involved in finding correlations between cause and effect would be decades, i.e., the project would run for decades; hopefully some users would submit for decades, or at least decades apart; so for example, if partially hydrogenated oils (or even aspartame) cause multiple sclerosis after 40 years of consumption, this project will find out.

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