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Mental Health Awareness, Part 2: Spotlight on Innovative Research

May 14th, 2015 | Health and Wellness | Article

In September 2014, TIME called Iodine “The Yelp of Medicine,” founded by former Wired editor, Thomas Goetz and Google engineer, Matt Mohebbi, the startup offers a user-friendly database of drug information.  Iodine offers the ability for patients to check reviews on new medications; just like so many of us do before making any consumer decisions.

Some call the database genius and just this month Iodine has used what they have already built to launch something exciting as a part of Mental Health Awareness Month.

The Iodine Timeline Study, launched on May 1, will track people’s experiences while taking anti-depressant medications. Similar to what we commented on during Parkinson’s Awareness month with the Fox Insight program; we are again seeing an innovative approach to collecting unprecedented amounts of data from a large community. There are more than 30 million Americans currently taking antidepressants, yet the largest study conducted to-date included a mere 4,041 subjects. Iodine hopes to utilize their broad reach to reveal untapped insights from current users and give others the power to make informed, more effective treatment decisions.

“People battling depression sometimes take three or more medications over six months before landing on the best treatment for them. Iodine hopes to improve upon this trial-and-error by enabling people to learn about the experiences others have had,” said co-founder Thomas Goetz. “We already share our opinions about businesses, restaurants, movies and more – isn’t it time we leveraged the power of community to improve the way we make decisions about our health?”

There is no app to learn how to use the technology or complicated questionnaire. Participants receive short emails a couple times a week prompting them to spend just one minute reporting their experiences with a few clicks.

Iodine is tracking people’s drug-related side effects as well as:

  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Weight Gain

Timeline will seek answers to big questions such as:

  • When do antidepressants really kick in?
  • Are side effects like weight gain just temporary?
  • How often do people experience sexual side effects?

At the end of 30 days, participants receive a simple report on how their experiences compare to others. Timeline will provide much needed knowledge on what works and what doesn’t for the community and importantly, allow for individuals to better understand their own treatment.

Biorasi is excited to be a part of this innovative industry as advancements in technology and health research continue to come together to serve different research and patient communities and the greater population.