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Want to Help Catalog, Track Autoimmune Diseases?
You can help researchers create a database to know exactly how many people are living with autoimmune conditions.
Image: CC--franck blais
Celiac.com 03/18/2017 - Do you have an autoimmune disease? Does someone you know? Did you know that the numbers regarding autoimmune rates are all over the place, and that incomplete or wrong information can result in delayed or missed diagnoses? Want to help researchers create a database that will help them understand exactly how many people are living with autoimmune conditions?
Then behold the latest project from ARI, a 501c(3) nonprofit, with a mission "to create a hub for research, statistics, and patient data on all autoimmune illnesses." The project seeks to provide data that will help researchers nail down some basic answers about the numbers of people who live with one or more autoimmune conditions. The ARI website says that the company "operate[s] a national database for patients who suffer from any autoimmune disease."
ARI's mission is to "reduce the time of diagnosis, support research, compute prevalence statistics, and establish autoimmune disease as a major class of disease so that it receives the awareness of the public, the attention of healthcare providers, and the appropriate funding needed to improve upon existing treatment protocols and disease management strategies."
This is one reason why Aaron Abend, the founder and president of ARI, decided to create the Autoimmune Registry after his mother was misdiagnosed for 10 years because, based on incorrect statistical data, "doctors thought Sjogren's syndrome was a rare disease with only 37,000 cases in the U.S." Today, researchers agree there are probably 3 million cases in the U.S., so not so rare at all.
Researchers currently estimate that anywhere from 9 million to 50 million people in the United States have an autoimmune disease. That's quite a wide range. Pinpointing the actual prevalence is part of what ARI will try to do. So, they are reaching out directly to patients to information about diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, psoriasis, diabetes, Crohn's, celiac disease, Sjogren's syndrome, multiple sclerosis (MS), and many others fall under the autoimmune umbrella.
The registry is easy to join. It is free to sign up and consists of a simple survey that people with autoimmune diseases answer.
The information that people provide to ARI remains secure. The data may be used to compile statistics and qualify them for research opportunities, but no identifying information will be shared without permission.
The hope is that the registry can help researchers connect with people and the data. You can view the registry here.
Celiac.com welcomes your comments below (registration is NOT required).
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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