What’s the answer? (social networks and diagnosis)

BioStar is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions. We are members of the community and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at BioStar that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those questions and answers here in this thread. You can ask questions in this thread, or you can always join in at BioStar.

This week’s highlighted question receives a “bounty” because Andrew Su thought it was worth giving some extra points out for a selected answer. He tweeted a prompt about it because the bonus ends later today, so I thought I’d highlight it today here as well:

using a patient’s social network to diagnose disease

This is a long shot, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

I remember reading not too long ago (within the past couple of months) about researchers who studied the ability of a person’s social network to diagnose or detect that person’s disease. The gist of the study was that the network did surprisingly well.

I don’t remember the exact study design (whether network members were explicitly asked to guess, or whether the researchers harnessed guesses from off-hand comments). I don’t remember how the user’s social network was defined either (but presumably it was probably through Facebook or Twitter). In fact, I don’t remember much beyond what I’ve written above, and I even might have remembered something incorrectly. I only read the headline and skimmed the article. However, I realize the details of this article are now incredibly important to me for a grant proposal.

As soon as the system allows me to, I will offer a bounty of 200 points. Help please!

NOTE: I am not thinking of this study, as compelling as it is. I recall the study I’m looking for being more of a scientific study rather than an anecdotal case report.

–Andrew Su

It’s going to help him with his grant–go over and offer some guidance if you know about this, and see what other folks have brought for answers as well.

One thought on “What’s the answer? (social networks and diagnosis)

  1. Mary Post author

    Woot! I won the bounty–how funny. I really didn’t plan it that way. I just saw Andrew’s tweet and it jogged my memory a bit.

    We actually found exactly the paper he needed, in Danish, with help from a woman on Google+. It was a lovely demonstration of crowdsourcing a resolution with social media.

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