Cloudy with a chance of pain

Have you ever heard someone say they know it’s going to rain because their joints ache? Or, have you heard someone say that their joints hurt because it is cold and wet? For thousands of years, people have wondered if the weather affects their symptoms of pain. Cue, the ingenious researchers leading the ‘Cloudy with a chance of pain’ study!

Cloudy with a chance of pain is the world’s first smartphone-based study investigating the association between the weather and pain. The study is being carried out using a smartphone app called uMotif, which people will use to record how they’re feeling, while local weather data is automatically collected using their phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS). Anyone in the UK, aged 17 or over, with arthritis or chronic pain is eligible to take part. You’ll need a smartphone too!

The study is being led by researchers at The University of Manchester, supported by Arthritis Research UK, uMotif, and the Office for Creative ResearchProfessor Will Dixon, Chair in Digital Epidemiology, Director of The University of Manchester’s Arthritis Research UK Centre for Epidemiology and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, came up with the initial idea for the study. He said: “This question has been around for more than 2000 years, but it’s only now with widespread modern technology that we have the ability to answer it.”

“We’re not just inviting people to submit data – we want their ideas about the association between weather and pain too. 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.”

However, there are only four days left until recruitment closes for the study. The team are very close to reaching 13,000 participants (which is a phenomenal achievement in itself), so please spread the word about the study amongst family, friends and colleagues before Friday 20 January 2017. You can take part by clicking here!

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