Researchers from the University of Manchester have launched an app-based study, called Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, that will study the relationship between the weather and chronic pain in the UK.
The initiative was launched in partnership with Arthritis Research UK, health app company uMotif, New York-based Office for Creative Research, and the University’s Health e-Research Centre.
Users aged 17 and older, who live in the UK and experience arthritis or chronic pain can participate in the study. These participants track their pain symptoms in the app. Meanwhile, the app will collect data on weather using the phone’s GPS tracker and pair that data to the symptom data. Participants will be able to see how their symptoms change in relation to the weather over time.
“And we’re not just inviting people to submit data – we want their ideas about the association between weather and pain too,” Dr. Will Dixon, director of The University of Manchester’s Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology, said in a statement. “We will be running a big citizen science experiment where anyone can explore the data and try and spot patterns and relationships in the data. We’ll gather ideas and theories from everyone to come up the best possible conclusion.”
People who are not participating in the study because they don’t experience chronic pain are also able to download the app and submit their ideas. People who are participating as well as others will be able to view the data that researchers collect on the Cloudy with a Chance of Pain website starting February 1st.
The study will run for one year. At the end, the researchers will conduct an analysis of the data and aim to identify ways to create pain forecasts, which would help people who live with chronic pain plan their schedule.