Here’s Sarah with a fascinating update to one of her previous posts.
You may recall one of my posts from a few months ago where I encouraged everyone to become involved in CureTogether.  (To summarize, CureTogether is a collaboration of people from around the world volunteering to solve real problems by reporting information about their chronic conditions. Patients self-report and rate symptoms and treatments for over 360 conditions. The top conditions at CureTogether are depression, anxiety, migraine, back pain, and vulvodynia.)  I am pleased to report that I just received an e-mail from Alex Carmichael, one of the co-founders of CureTogether, with some fabulous news about the success of their citizen science projects.
According to Alex, after an analysis of data reported by 324 patients at CureTogether, patients who report infertility are 1.9x more likely to report having asthma than patients who don’t report infertility.  Within the 34 people reporting infertility, 13 (38%) reported having asthma (the remaining 21 out of 34 specifically said they did NOT have asthma). Within the 290 people reporting “no infertility”, 58 (20%) reported having asthma (the remaining 232 specifically reported NOT having asthma).  This 38% vs. 20% relative risk is statistically significant, with a 95% confidence interval of 1.4 – 2.6.
This finding is really important because using only user-reported data, CureTogether has confirmed the infertility-asthma association that has only been explored previously in clinical studies such as the ones I have listed below:
1. Asthma was found to be associated with irregular menstruation.
2. Asthma is higher in women with endometriosis (which also has a high correlation to infertility) than in the general population.
3. The more siblings you have, the less likely you are to have asthma.
4. A big cohort study in the UK found no link between fertility and allergy-related diseases but also said that with asthma in particular there was a different relationship to fertility than with eczema and hay fever.
Obviously, this is a big step for citizen science – REAL disease correlations being confirmed just by people answering a few health questions.  I encourage you all to log on to the CureTogether website and take a few moments to report data of your own!  In the meantime, I have no doubts that they will continue to have more success to share with us in the coming months…

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