Search Results for: nutrition
The recent report by Victoria Rideout and Susannah Fox, “Digital Health Practices,Social Media Use,and Mental Well-Being Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S.” deserves sustained attention for its exploration of the relationship between social media and mental health in teens and young adults. While the study is designed to contribute some realism to the question of whether social media is associated with depression, it contains some important basic data about what’s going on with the use of technology generally. Based on a national survey fielded by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, the study is the only one I know of that has carefully examined into how often young people use apps to track their health and wellbeing. Key results include:
- 64% of young people have used health apps
- 26% report having used a nutrition related app
- 20% have used an app to track menstrual cycles
- 11% have used apps related to meditation or mindfulness
These are large numbers. And yet, as many QS toolmakers have already found out the hard way, the survey data shows that the use of these apps is episodic.
As Rideout and Fox put it:
“While 64% of young people say they have “ever” used health apps, 25% say they “currently” do. It appears that many young people are using health-related apps for just a short time – to reach a goal, for example.”
We’ve recently been in a lot of conversations with toolmakers about how difficult it is to sustain a business offering apps and devices for self-tracking. If a quarter of all young people are currently using apps for things like nutrition, menstrual cycles, and mindfulness, and nearly two thirds of all young people have given these kinds of apps a try, why have toolmakers found that creating a business to support this practice is so hard to sustain?
An obvious guess is that the problem lies with business models that require customers to pay monthly fees, or consistently upgrade devices. Where people are tracking in order to learn – and stopping once they’ve learned something or otherwise lost interest – these kinds of businesses will get in trouble.
There’s a lot to think about in this report, but what sticks with me most after reading through a couple of times is the strong force impelling young people to try to find out more about the health topics that concern them. In survey of around 1300 young people, nearly 500 people shared a favorite health app in the open ended response section. Six percent of the respondents wrote about a mental health topic they had researched that wasn’t listed on the survey, and an equal number mentioned a physical health issue that wasn’t listed. We often talk about the value of self-tracking and self-experiment for people who are thinking about something that that doesn’t match the common pattern. The challenge of understand something that doesn’t seem to “fit” is strongly felt in the many touching quotes from the open ended response sections with which the report ends.
I won’t steal them for this post: go find them at the link above.
InsideTracker puts the power of personalized nutrition into your hands, using your blood, DNA, and habits. They create evidence-based solutions that are simple, actionable, and personalized – because no two bodies are the same. InsideTracker’s goal is to cut through the noise of diet and fitness fads by analyzing blood, DNA, and habits, and tell each person how to live, look, age, and perform better.
Ahead of QS18, InsideTracker will be giving away a chance to test and retest using the Ultimate + InnerAge plan ($1107 in value) to two lucky QS18 attendees. Each selected candidate will get an opportunity to share their experience through a Show&Tell at QS18 in Portland. If you are registered for QS18, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your project/question. If you haven’t yet registered—now is your time to register for QS18 to take advantage of this generous offer. We will be accepting emails until July 31.
In your email, please specify what you are hoping to learn and your time frame for completing project. You should plan to run this test in August/September in order to be prepared to present at the conference on September 22/23. We look forward to hearing from you!
Join us: Quantified Self 2018 Conference in Portland on September 22-23. Register here.
Dublin recently put on a fantastic meeting with a couple of great talks about gut health (which you can watch). They are back at it again, with three speakers on bio-markers related to nutrition. Austin’s theme is nutrition as well, with the main talk on a person’s data collected while losing 95 pounds on a ketogenic diet.
Tuesday, April 4
Thursday, April 6
To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own! If you are a QS Organizer and want some ideas for your next meetup, check out the myriad of meetup formats that other QS organizers are using here.
You can see many great talks at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.
Earlier this month, the Quantified Self Dublin group got together for an engaging evening of talks on gut health by members of the local medical community.
Francesco Polito, a nutritional therapist, talked about the markers that are found in a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA). This is a test that he has his clients get to understand the current state of their gut. Francisco walked through the test results, explaining what each marker represented and what it could mean if it is out of range. It’s an incredibly fascinating talk and I will be writing more about it in-depth next week. In the meantime, you can watch a video of the talk and review his slides, which contain an actual CDSA report from one of his clients.
A Gut Hormone Primer
Natasha Kapoor, a researcher at University College Dublin, gave a primer on hormones in the gut. She explained the relationship that ghrelin has with appetite. Higher ghrelin levels correspond with increased hunger. This is concerning, since lack of sleep can cause ghrelin to rise, meaning that carrying a sleep debt could induce you to eat more than you otherwise would. It may follow, then, to try and manipulate ghrelin levels to help control appetite. However, clinical attempts to lower ghrelin levels are not advised since it is a complex hormone involved in more than just hunger, such as cardiovascular function, sleep and memory.
Still, there are other hormones that play a role in appetite. Natasha described three hormones that have the opposite effect as ghrelin, making you feel full while eating a meal: cholecystokinin, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1. She is currently recruiting subjects for a study on whether these hormones could be manipulated to control appetite through a “gut hormone infusion” method. As Natasha explains in the video below, there are more mundane ways of taking advantage of these hormones to reach satiety quicker, such as eating your food in a certain order (hint: start with the protein portion).
If you are interested in exploring more about the microbiome, we’ve had a number of interesting Show&Tell talks on gut health:
- Larry Smarr has one of the most thoroughly tracked microbiomes on the planet
- Ari Meisel reversed the symptoms of his Crohn’s disease.
- Richard Sprague looked at the effects of cholesterol on his microbiome.
- Mark Moschel picked up a parasite while traveling and talks about the process of healing his gut.
- Karl Heilbron looked at whether probiotics had an impact on his Ubiome tests.
You can meet Justin and other members of QS Dublin at our next conference on June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event to see the latest self-experiments, discuss the most interesting topics in personal data, and meet the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are a limited number of tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.
Even though our work at Quantified Self is not ostensibly political, we have been thinking lately about its relevance to the tumultuous times in U.S. politics. Although there is uncertainty and fear, we, like many others, feel activated to make a difference as individuals, more than we did before.
One of my fundamental beliefs about Quantified Self practices is that it leads people to be better versions of themselves. I don’t mean this in the bigger, stronger, or faster sense. It helps people become active agents in their lives. To be more curious and challenge certainty in themselves and others. In navigating this uncertain time and figuring out how to make a personal contribution, communities will play a larger role in people’s lives. It’s important to me, at least, that we are a community that encourages thoughtfulness and thoroughness in reasoning and perspective. I don’t know exactly what our role will be, but we stand in solidarity with those who fight for a better world and defend against capriciousness, avarice, and false confidence. In that spirit, my colleague Erica has put together a beautiful, short video of her experience at the Women’s March on D.C.
I hope you enjoy these articles. Some are a welcome respite. Others may help with understanding the current situation. If you have any suggestions for what we can do to help or if you read anything that we should include in a future WWAR, send it my way at email@example.com.
Algorithmic Life by Massimo Mazzotti. Trendy words become objects of derision. When a word with a range of meanings is overused, it becomes ever more ambiguous, as each discrepant situation through which it passes rubs away some of its precision, until the sound of the word does nothing more than evoke vague memories of where it’s been. Words that have been with us through many struggles, like “justice” or “pride,” acquire the opacity of nearly universal significance. But new minted words, without historical weight— people may just start to laugh them. The word algorithm has begun to suffer this fate. This sensitive essay by historian of science Massimo Mazzotti argues that the semantic confusion of “algorithm” is an invitation to revise our assumptions about people and machines. -Gary
Why Medical Advice Seems to Change So Frequently by Aaron E. Carroll. Nutritional recommendations are a tricky business. Some wonder why scientists can’t get their story straight. Sometimes the issue is that a perceived effect disappears when a more rigorous experiment is done. Another issue is that some people will benefit from an intervention, but it is then proclaimed that all people will benefit. There’s also the problem of studies with negative results being hidden from view. -Steven
Tracking Physiomes and Activity Using Wearable Biosensors Reveals Useful Health-Related Information, by Xiao Li, Jessilyn Dunn, and Denis Salins. This article from PLOS-Bio is a top contender for “QS Paper of the Year.” True, this award was just invented, and the year has barely started. Still, I invite you to download it and see if you can find reasons to disagree. Based on nearly two years of extremely detailed self-tracking by one 58-year old participant, and strengthened by additional group research, the paper makes substantive new discoveries and demonstrates the power of accessible tools for self-measurement. The participant is Mike Snyder, principle investigator in the Stanford lab where the authors work. (Aside from many other interesting things about the paper, it’s an important example of participatory research methods.) Back in 2011, an individual self-experimenter, John de Souza, gave a talk at our QS conference showing that he could predict sickness – before symptoms were felt – by looking at elevation of peak heart rate during exercise over a well established baseline average. Li, Dunn, and Salins’ paper contains a similar result based on elevation of resting heart rate. The data supporting this conclusion is very rich, including both self-reported symptoms and elevated hs-CRP, a marker of inflamation. There is much too much additional interesting material to quickly summarize; thankfully, PLOS-Bio is open access, so have at it. -Gary
Most People Are Bad at Arguing. These 2 Techniques Will Make You Better by Brian Resnick. Something that I see play out on Facebook currently is the futility of arguing with those that we disagree with. It’s not often the case that this does anything to change minds. This article looks at how empathy and listening can make a difference. -Steven
Cortisol and Politics: Variance in Voting Behavior is Predicted by Baseline Cortisol Levels, by Jeffrey A. French, et al. While I don’t have super high confidence the conclusions from this paper published in 2014 are going to hold up, the connection between variations in stress tolerance and participation in politics is very interesting, and more accessible measurement tools are going to allow a much closer look than we’ve ever had before. An intuitive understanding of how to induce and relieve stress has been part of politician’s toolkit forever, but now more than ever we need some kind of self-understanding of our own physiological patterns of response, in order to be able to reflect better on what’s happening around us. -Gary
The FDA Is Cracking Down On Rogue Genetic Engineers. Up until this point DIY biohacking has largely operated without government oversight. As this technology moves out of niche communities and becomes commercialized, there are concerns over whether the FDA will include DIY biology enthusiasts in the rulemaking process. -Steven
Show & Tell
The Year 2016 by Lillian Karabaic. Lillian releases her 9th annual report, with entertaining visualizations, whimsical metrics (e.g., tacos consumed), and a light-hearted, but not to be taken lightly, study of burnout from a new job. -Steven
Introducing BobAPI — A Personal API to Collect and Share All of My Life Data by Bob Troia. I missed this when he originally released it, but Bob created a unified data store that allows him to have control and ownership of his data and better equip himself to contribute to citizen science. I hope this proves to be a model that others follow. – Steven
A College Student’s Individual Analysis of Productivity of Four Years by Tiffany Qi. Tiffany recently graduated from UC Berkeley. During her four years of undergrad study, she tracked her time and productivity. In this analysis, she looks at how how her time spent affected her grades. -Steven
One Angry Bird: Emotional Arcs of the past Ten U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses. This analysis looks at facial expressions used by the last ten presidents as they give their inaugural addresses. Both the visualizations and method of analysis are novel. -Steven
How Often Do I Look at the Time? by Ravi Mistry. This is a of a visualization of a novel metric: “how often one looks at the time.” I’m impressed by the discipline required to pull this off. -Steven
Our next conference is June 17-18 in lovely Amsterdam. It’s a perfect event for seeing the latest self-experiments, debating the most interesting topics in personal data, and meeting the most fascinating people in the Quantified Self community. There are only a few early-bird discount tickets left. We can’t wait to see you there.
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The Beacon Experiments: Low-Energy Bluetooth Devices in Action by Chaise Hocking. There is a lot of interest in using micro-location to support QS projects, with much excitement focused on Bluetooth beacons as a possible solution. If you’ve been curious about how well the fairly well known Estimote and Kontakt beacons work for estimating proximity, this post is for you. ‑Gary
Do-It-Yourself Medical Devices — Technology and Empowerment in American Health Care by Jeremy A. Greene. DIY healthcare technology has existed a lot longer than the devices designed to pair with your smartphone, but the “it” in DIY, as well as whom “yourself” is directed towards, has changed significantly over time. ‑Steven
Boundary Negotiating Artifacts in Personal Informatics: Patient-Provider Collaboration with Patient-Generated Data by Chia-Fang Chung et al. This sensitive research paper explores how self-collected data can be used to support collaboration between people seeking health care and their care providers. Based on surveys and interviews, Chung and her co-authors offer a detailed analytical framework for understanding common tensions and misunderstandings, and give extremely thoughtful suggestions for designers. ‑Gary
‘Superman Memory Crystal’ Could Store Data for 13.8 Billion Years by Stephanie Pappas. It’s probably foolish to get excited by a technology that may never escape the research facility, but I’m excited by the idea anyhow. The challenge of keeping data from degrading is a big one. Libraries burn down. Magnetic tapes disintegrate. Hard drives die suddenly. The idea of storing your data on a glass disc is poetically appealing, but I am surprised to learn of it’s practicality in terms of stability and capacity.‑Steven
The Most Famous Mice in the World Right Now by Steve Hamley. I’ve been following the slow transformation of nutritional science from anti-fat to anti-carb since reading Gary Taubes cover story for the New York Times: “What If It’s All Been A Big Fat Lie?” This week there was a minor chapter in which many media reports used some work by a New Zealand scientist purporting to show that high fat, low carb diets could be bad for your glycemic control after all. The above story by Steve Hamley is the best debunking. ‑Gary
Ann Douglas Details Her Hi-tech Weight Loss Journey by Lauren Pelley. Ann Douglas, an author of books on parenting and pregnancy, lost 135 pounds over two years. She didn’t have one killer device or app, but used a suite of tools that contributed in one way or another. “I had given up all hope of ever losing all this weight,” she says. “If you’re sitting there despairing, wondering how you’re ever going to do anything about your weight problem — I was there too.” ‑Steven
Using Heart Rate Variability to Analyze Stress in Conversation by Paul LaFontaine. “Vapor lock” is Paul’s term for that feeling when you are trying to retrieve something from memory in conversation, but because of the stress of the situation (especially if it is with a boss), you lock up and your recall fails. To better understand this phenomenon and learn how to prevent it, Paul measured his heart rate variability during 154 conversations with bosses and co-workers and discovered that the biggest cause of his “vapor lock” was not what he expected at all. ‑Steven
17 Years of Location Tracking by Stephen Cartwright. Steven has been tracking his latitude, longitude and elevation every hour since 1999. In this talk, Stephen shows how seventeen years of location tracking has given him a wealth of data to explore in the form of three-dimensional data visualization sculptures. He has even brought some of these to QS conferences. They are amazing to behold in person. ‑Steven
Marrying Age: This is when Americans get married by Nathan Yau. This interactive visualization looks at the average marrying age for different demographics. You can’t see the trends over time, but it is interesting, though not wholly surprising, to see smoother distributions for demographics that tend to have more stabile economic situations, like college graduates. (Though I’m not sure if that has more to do with the relative number of people in each group.) ‑Steven
Forget me nots by Lam Thuy Vo. This explores the relationship between a woman and her archive of email exchanges with exes. This visualization above is fairly standard, but the others in the piece are more like tone poems. Appropriate, considering that dives into your archive can leave you swirling in unleashed emotion (Speaking from personal experience here. You would be surprised by how much you can relive your life by looking at old bank statements). ‑Steven
Danielle by Anthony Cerniello. This is a video of a computer generated face that ages over the course of four minutes. The length is interesting in that you can tell that change is occurring, yet it is happening slow enough that it’s hard to see exactly what is changing moment to moment. ‑Steven
Thanks to Ernesto for sending a link our way. If you find an interesting article you’d like to recommend, email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to get these automatically in your inbox, you can subscribe here.
In the lead up to every QS Conference we’ve put on there is always interest from pioneering people, organizations, and companies who are looking for ways to get involved. In 2013 we created our “Friends of QS” program as a lightweight way to get involved with the QS community at our events. We’re so happy to welcome back a few old friends and include a great group of new friends at our upcoming QS15 Conference & Expo.
Our Friends of QS include:
|Beeminder is a goal-tracking tool with teeth. Connect a QS gadget or app (Fitbit, RescueTime, etc) and Beeminder plots your progress towards your goal on a Yellow Brick Road. Stay on track and Beeminder is free. Go off the road and you (literally) pay the price.|
|The Brain Stimulator creates electronic cognitive enhancement devices which use Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to influence the natural electrical impulses of the brain, often producing positive effects. Studies have shown that tDCS has promise to safely increase focus, short-term and longer-term memory, language learning abilities, mathematical skills, motor control, and induce “flow-state” learning capabilities.|
|Bulletproof is an industry leader in coffee, nutrition, supplements and technology developed to help people perform better, think faster, and live up to their fullest potential using a blend of time-tested knowledge and cutting-edge technology.|
|Fluxtream is an open-source non-profit personal data visualization framework to help you make sense of your life and compare hypotheses about what affects your well-being. Using Fluxtream, you can bring together and explore physiological, contextual, and observational data from many devices and apps on a common timeline.|
|Gordon Bell is on a quest to understand how to store everything in his life in cyberspace. Since 1998, he has been working on the MyLifeBits project with Jim Gemmell, founder of Trov, a company dedicated to helping people track their stuff. After QS2012, Gordon became a “trackee” of health data using CMU’s Bodytrack holding BodyMedia, Heartrate and other data.|
|At HeadsUpHealth, our goal is to make it easy for anyone to take control of their health information and use data to make better decisions. We integrate medical records, wearable data, self-tracking and legacy data (pdf, .csv etc.) into a personal repository. We then provide the tools needed to use this information for health optimization.|
|The Quantified Self Institute is an experimental collaboration between the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Groningen, the Netherlands) and QS Labs to bridge the gap between science and the QS community. It is a network of QS users/makers, researchers, students, companies and other institutions that support the mission to encourage a healthy lifestyle through technology, science and fun.|
|Rock Health s powering the future of the digital health ecosystem, bringing together the brightest minds across disciplines to build better solutions. Rock Health funds and supports startups building the next generation of technologies transforming healthcare.|
If you’re interested in supporting our work and interacting with the amazing attendees at the QS15 Conference & Expo we invite you to join our Friends of QS. The easiest way to get involved is to register for QS15. On the registration menu, select “Friends of QS.” By paying a small premium over the normal ticket price, you support our program and also receive a range of benefits designed to support the toolmakers in our community.
Want to meet the great people behind the companies and institutions you see above? Register today for the QS15 Conference & Expo!
This week will see 8 Quantified Self meetups with jam-packed agendas.
There will be two meetups occurring in San Francisco this week. QSXX will have a show&tell talk from Valerie Lanard on quitting TV. QSXX meetups are for women or those who identify as women. You can find out more here. QS San Francisco‘s meeting will have a stress-management and calming theme.
Cambridge will have talks on home blood test based analytics by Hemavault, anxiety monitoring via sensors in clothes, and a person’s experience tracking activities for 2 years. Stockholm will have Mattias Ribbing and Jonas Bergqvist as guests to speak about memory training, nutrition and fitness. Houston will have researchers Susan Schembre and Troy Gilchrist present their recent research on the gut biome and continuous glucose monitoring.
Berlin will feature a show&tell talk from Maximilian Gotzler on tracking high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a general indicator for inflammation, in his blood over time to find out which food or lifestyle factors influence inflammation in his body. They will also have a toolmaker talk by Josephine Worseck of Kenkodo, a blood test for measuring metabolites.
To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own!
Monday, March 23
Friday, March 27
Saturday, March 28
Lastly, some photos from last week’s meetup in Washington D.C.:
There will be five Quantified Self meetups this week. If you live in the south of England, you won’t want to miss the meetup in London. They are always excellent.
St. Louis will feature a discussion with Dr. James McCarter on fasting. McCarter will explain the science of ketosis and how to take a citizen-science approach to measuring the biological effects of fasting.
Washington, DC will have a jam-packed schedule, starting with Patrick McKnight showing his exercise and hypoxic training data from his preparation to ascend Mt. Everest. Josh Touyz and Dmitri Adler of Data Society will show the group how to get their data from the Fitbit API and analyze it. There will also be a talk from an analytical chemist on how to use blood tests to address nutritional deficiencies.
In addition to the show&tell talks in Thessaloníki, the group will have a discussion about the possibilities of Apple’s new ResearchKit, inspired by #WhatIfResearchKit on Twitter. Background on this hashtag can be found here.
To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own! If you organize a QS meetup, please post pictures of your event to the Meetup website. We love seeing them.
Tuesday, March 17
St. Louis, Illinois
Thursday, March 19
Friday, March 20
Lastly, St. Louis gets the top prize for monumental creativity with the injection of the cityscape into their logo:
We have a great list for you today. Special thanks to all those who are reaching out via Twitter to send us articles, links, and other bits of interestingness. Keep ‘em coming!
Self-Experimentation: Crossing the Borders Between Science, Art, and Philosophy, 1840–1920 by Katrin Solhdju. This brief essay lays out a great foundation for anyone interesting in the history and philosophy of science, with an obvious focus on the self-experiment. This essay is hosted at the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, at which I highly recommend spending some time clicking around and reading the wonderful essays and articles.
After the Data Confessional: interview with Ellie Harrison by Stephen Fortune. A very interesting and thought-provoking interview with artist Ellie Harrison. For six years self-tracking data was the core component of Ellie’s work as an artist. Then she decided to stop and reconsider her tracking practices and what it meant to her and her work.
Data is the New “___” by Sara M. Watson. “What do we talk about when we talk about data?” is the question Sara posses here to frame a wonderful piece on how our use of metaphors influences our view of data.
A brief history of big data everyone should read by Bernard Marr. If we’re going to talk about how we talk about data it is probably useful to have some historical context. Great timeline here of data in society.
Baby Lucent: Pitfalls of Applying Quantified Self to Baby Products [PDF] by Kevin Gaunt, Júlia Nacsa, and Marcel Penz. An interesting article here from three Swedish design students that looks at current baby and parenting tracking technology. They also conducted a design process to develop a future tracking concept to better understand parent’s reactions to baby tracking. I thought there were a few interesting finding from their interviews.
Hey, Nate: There Is No ‘Rich Data’ In Women’s Sports by Allison McCann. It only seems fitting that a few days before this weekend’s MIT Sloan Conference on Sports Analytics Conference, the “it” place to learn about and discuss sports data, that we learn about the amazing dearth of data collected and published about women’s sports.
Analyzing Email Data by Austin G. Waters. A great deep dive into the 23,965 emails that Austin has collected in his personal account since 2009. I won’t spoil it, but this post just keeps getting better and better as you scroll. Bonus points to Austin for describing his methods and open-sourcing the code he used to conduct this analysis.
The App That Tricked My Family Into Exercising by Adam Weitz. Not a lot of data in this post, but I enjoyed the personal and social changes Adam described through his use the Human activity tracking app.
Smart Art by Natasha Dzurny. Using IFTTT and a few littleBits modules Natasha created a piece of artwork that reflects how often she goes to the gym. Would love to seem more DIY data reflections like this!
How does weather affect U.S. sleep patterns? by Sleep Cycle. Sleep Cycle analyzed 142,272 sleep reports from their users (recorded in January of 2015) to explore mood upon awakening, stress levels before bed, and sleep quality. Fascinating stuff.
HHS Expands Its Approach to Making Research Results Freely Available For the Public
Many Patients Would Like To Hide Some Of Their Medical Histories From Their Doctors
Doctors say data fees are blocking health reform
From the Forum
Best ECG/EKG Tool for Exercise
BodyMedia API – Anyone have an active key/application?
Sleep monitor recommendations for research on sleep in hospitals
Simplified nutrition, alertness, mood tracking