'Medical detectives' are helping people diagnose tricky conditions online.
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When one mom took to a medical platform called CrowdMed, her son Joseph was in desperate need of help.

"My son feels like an old man," she wrote. "He suffers from constant, debilitating fatigue, painful body aches ... he feels like he's dying."

After submitting his case to the site, more than 40 "medical detectives" — medical experts from around the world — took it on. They came to the consensus that he most likely had Lyme disease, even though that had previously been ruled out by his physicians following negative test results.


The medical detectives had noticed that the tests he had taken were old and known to be inaccurate now with advanced technology. They recommended he take a new test, which confirmed that Lyme disease was the correct diagnosis. He's now on the appropriate treatment plan and feeling way better.

The internet is a wild place like that.

Who would have thought the same tools we use to look at pictures of cute kittens could also help us solve mysterious medical cases?

The internet and social media have not only changed the way friends communicate with each other, but have changed the way doctors and patients communicate, too.

Like other professionals, doctors benefit from sharing insight and expertise with other doctors. But only so much can be learned from attending a conference or reading a medical journal. That's where crowdsourcing medical info has come into play.

Here are five ways doctors (and everyday folks) are using the internet to change the medical world as we know it:

1. Medical detectives are solving difficult medical mysteries on CrowdMed.

Image via CrowdMed.

There are thousands and thousands (and thousands) of medical conditions out there. The odds of one doctor knowing all of them? Well, that'd be ridiculous! And that's exactly why CrowdMed came into existence.

As in the example above, CrowdMed uses crowdsourcing to help solve unique medical cases online. We're not talking your common cold here. We're talking difficult medical conditions that could normally take several years, and a lot of money, to diagnose. With the help of their medical experts, or "detectives," patients are given access to a wide variety of medical expertise in one online platform.

2. No Instagram filter is needed with these photos, but a medical degree can help.


From the emergency room, here's our selected case for #Medstudent Monday. What test should you order urgently for this patient?
A video posted by Figure 1 (@figure1) on



While many people take joy in scrolling through photos of puppies and fancy-looking dinners on Instagram, people in the medical community are actively following photos of medical cases to compare notes. With more than 54,000 followers, the account Figure 1 is perfect for health professionals to view and discuss a variety of medical issues ranging from surgeries to X-rays to burn wounds.

"If I’m able to log on to Instagram or Figure 1 and see a picture of something that I learned about three years ago in medical school that I may see in the future, that’s really helpful for my learning going forward," emergency medicine resident John Corker told Marketplace.


We've selected our case of the week. This device can restore a patient's vision when all other methods fail. Do you know what it is?
A photo posted by Figure 1 (@figure1) on

3. Doctors are using an instant messenger to get their answers super fast.

A "living, breathing, evolving medical knowledge bank," SERMO has become a go-to social network for doctors around the world. Its community of 600,000 members are all verified and credentialed physicians who use the space to brainstorm, ask questions, collaborate, and exchange knowledge and experiences with each other.

And what makes it stand out is that community members can remain anonymous on the network once they've been verified. It creates a safe space for doctors to open up and ask questions they may otherwise avoid asking in a public setting or in their own practice.

"When physicians feel comfortable dialoguing without repercussions, they ask for help, they share knowledge, they admit mistakes — and together advance the universe of medical knowledge," the website reads. Makes sense.

4. What if a doctor needs a second opinion? There are Facebook groups for that.

Image via Facebook.

When Dr. Brian Jacob wanted to stay in touch and share knowledge with other surgeons around the world, he went straight to Facebook. Jacob created a closed group called International Hernia Collaboration and invited some of his surgeon friends to join.

"What began as a few of us collaborating privately about tough cases quickly spread to hundreds of vetted surgeons and industry members from over 40 countries providing each other continuous quality improvement one Facebook post and comment at a time," he wrote in Facebook Stories.

The group, which now has over 2,100 members, has seen successful outcomes thanks to their teamwork. Woo, collaboration! For example, Jacob said in his story:

"One day last year, a patient came to me insisting that he have his hernia fixed as soon as possible. Given his medical history, I suspected it would be best to wait and not operate right away. With the patient’s permission, I decided to reach out to the group for other perspectives. I posted an x-ray image of his hernia and the key information regarding his case, along with my two points: 1) When is it too soon to repair a newly formed hernia? and 2) What technique and product would you use?

Within minutes, other surgeons chimed in with comments, and I felt comforted in teaching hundreds of surgeons across the globe that there was consensus in this decision to postpone the surgery. With the support of the group, I waited a few months before operating, and saved the patient potential injury to his intestines that could occur by operating too soon. I've tracked his progress and, almost a year later, he is still doing very well."

5. Or for the minimal effort approach, let the information come directly to you.

With sites like PediHeartNet, users are able to sign up to be informed on the latest news within their expertise. For instance, PediHeartNet's listserv allows medical professionals to sign up to receive postings of worldwide discussions to their inbox on various aspects of pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery. That's both important and convenient.

When it comes down to it, the more quality information we have about our health, the better off we all are.

It's great to see medical professionals and everyday people work together to find ways to share their medical knowledge and experiences for the benefit of human good.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Hennepin County Sheriff

The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minnesota police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has many breathing a sigh of relief. Even though the disturbing video evidence of Floyd dying under Chauvin's knee is impossible to refute, it's incredibly hard to convict an officer of murder.

The United States judicial system is so preferential to law enforcement that even though the world saw murder in broad daylight, many were skeptical of whether he'd be convicted.

"Most people, I think, believe that it's a slam dunk," David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert in policing, told the Washington Post before the trial. "But he said, "the reality of the law and the legal system is, it's just not."

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.