Last April 25, 2011, PatientsLikeMe revealed the results of a patient-initiated observational study refuting a 2008(1) published study that claimed lithium carbonate could slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). PatientsLikeMe, a health data-sharing website with more than 100,000 patients and 500+ conditions, announced its study results in the journal, Nature Biotechnology.
PatientsLikeMe developed a novel algorithm designed to match patients who reported taking lithium with a number of other ALS patients that had similar disease courses. By using a matched control group, PatientsLikeMe was able to reduce biases associated with evaluating the effects of treatments in open label, real world situations and improve the statistical power of the study making each patients contribution more meaningful.
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