Available online: Crowdsourcing to solve mystery illnesses, and checking for car recalls

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SALT LAKE CITY — Baffled by what’s ailing you? A new website lets people with mysterious illnesses contact medical experts around the world.

Also, with so many vehicle recalls recently, it's tough for drivers to keep track. But a website helps them know if a recall pertains to their vehicles.

And Black Friday shopping creeps even earlier this year.

Connecting with medical experts

Millions of people suffer from an undiagnosed or untreated condition. CrowdMed.com allows people with baffling illnesses to pick the brains of medical experts and specialists from around the world.

Patients detail symptoms about their mystery disease. Experts, specialists and even former patients then ask questions and present a diagnosis.

The website's premise is the patient connects with people who may have experience, information and answers their primary doctor doesn't.

The website claims the average CrowdMed patient has been sick for eight years, seen eight doctors, and racked up over $50,000 in medical expenses. It says submitting a case for crowdsourcing requires a $50 deposit, which is fully refunded after the case is closed. It encourages users to offer cash compensation as incentive to those who solve the case.

Has your car been recalled?

The auto industry has issued recall after recall this year.

In fact, the National Institute for Highway Traffic projects over 41 million cars will be recalled this year.

So how do you know if a car is on a recall list somewhere?

A new government recall site, SaferCar.gov, allows car owners to look up their car's vehicle identification number, or VIN, and in seconds know if the car needs a recall repair.

Consumers also can check the VIN of a used car before buying it. No law prevents dealers from selling a used car that's been recalled.

Black Friday creep

Just how early can Black Friday get? About the time the turkey goes into the oven.

K-mart announced it will open at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and stay open through Friday night.

Most Walmart stores also will open Thanksgiving morning, but the big door buster deals won't start until 6 p.m.

The Wall Street Journal reports stores want to turn Thanksgiving into a full shopping day.


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Bill Gephardt


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