23andMe cofounder launches quantified self-powered health Q&A platform

By Aditi Pai

curiousNew York-based Curious, a company that aims to provide people with platform on which they can ask health questions and collaborate with others to find answers, is planning to launch its online platform this summer, according to an article in Fast Company. 23andMe cofounder Linda Avey is one of three founders that started the company.

Avey left direct to consumer genomics company 23andMe in 2009 to work on Alzheimer's research.

Because the company hasn't launched its product yet, the website currently shows a scrolling list a questions that range from 'Does a viral illness show its effects somewhere in my DNA?' to 'Are my migraines frequent enough to warrant taking a preventative prescription (side effects and all)?'.

Curious will not only provide a place for patients to ask questions, but will aim to collect quantified self information from apps and devices that the patient uses.

“What we’re building with Curious, we hope, is an easier way for people to come together and share questions about what’s going on in their lives and to use questions to try to formalize and narrow in on a topic,” Avey told Fast Company. “The people can approach the question and say, 'Okay, if I gathered a certain amount of data would that actually help me answer my question in a more quantitative way?'”

Curious has also started a a pilot program with 8 patients from LGMD2i Research Fund, a nonprofit that wants to find treatments and cures for Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2I.

Curious first began showing early versions of its product via Twitter in early 2012.

The company's platform has some similarities to PatientsLikeMe, which began as an online community for ALS patients, but has since become a community that aims to connect patients dealing with different kinds of diseases. Curious might go down the same route --users can log in to their PatientsLikeMe account to track their conditions, therapies, and treatments, and in the process, contribute to larger research projects that could benefit from the big data that PatientsLikeMe users generate.