Lip Balm and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Posted by GI Monitor
Thousands of IBD (Crohn’s and Colitis) patients from around the world are using GI Monitor to actively monitor their conditions. As a result, this community is acutely aware of potential correlations between symptoms, meals, medications and other general observations. When we added Socialize to GI Monitor, our users began talking about their observations and the potential for research became glaringly evident.
I will warn you first that the example I am about to provide will seem trivial, but there is a deeper point embedded. In a recent post on Socialize, our social feature within GI Monitor, I told fellow users that I have an addiction to Chapstick. The post was more conversational than exploratory and was really just intended to express something about myself to the community. And then the thread began to grow with comments from other IBD patients who share my addiction to Chapstick or other lip balms. And then someone asked if dry lips might be related to IBD.
This potential correlation is not so important to patient quality-of-life. But what if there is a deeper correlation that we don’t yet completely understand? When combined with demographic and geographic information, perhaps it could further our understanding of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Now I’ll move on to the main point of this post (sorry its taking so long). How long would it take for the research community to learn whether or not IBD patients have a higher incidence of chapped lips? The answer is that it would take a while, and one way to ramp up that timeframe is to analyze data from social disease management applications. Mobile health apps and social networks will lead to areas of research that might have never been otherwise explored, resulting in a better understanding of human health and wellness.