We have a great set of meet ups this week. If you are in the area for any of them, be sure not to miss it! To go 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!
Tuesday (August 26)
The Houston group will be taking a break from the heat to talk self-tracking.
Los Angeles, California
Looks like it will be another full lineup for the group in Southern California.
Wednesday (August 27)
Auckland, New Zealand
With a guest speaker and a round of Show&Tells, this should be a great meetup to attend.
Thursday (August 28)
This should be a fun meetup with the telling of two accelerometer adventures and a Kickstarter story.
Saturday (August 30)
This great event will feature stories from fasting self-experiments.
Ernesto is out for this round, so I’m filling in. I hope you enjoy this week’s list of articles, show&tells and visualizations!
“Standing Up for American Innovation and Your Privacy in the Digital Age” by Senator Ron Wyden. Access to your personal data is something that we care about and has been a topic of conversation at QS meetups and conferences. During Portland’s recent TechFestNW, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden took a strong stance on the nature of the relationship of the user and his/her data by criticizing the “Third-Party doctrine”.
Digital Health State of the Industry by MobileHealthNews. In the hype-filled world of digital health, MobiHealthNews is one of the (few) sources we trust for business reports. Their latest quarterly roundup is very well done, as always.
Better Living Through Data by James Davenport. James has over four years of battery log data from three laptops. By looking at the data, he saw a view of his own computer usage as well as a glimpse of his laptop’s secret life in the middle of the night. If you want to keep logs of your laptop’s battery, you can use the same script.
Which Cities get the most sleep? by Stuart A. Thompson. We showed a visualization last week that used UP user data. This visualization is from the same dataset, but I couldn’t pass up showing it because the sleep/step pattern contrast between New York and Orlando is so interesting.
This Week on Quantifiedself.com
Cors Brinkman: Lifelog as Self-Portrait
Eric Boyd: Tracking My Daily Rhythm With a Nike FuelBand
Kevin Krejci: An Update on Tracking Parkinson’s Disease
Mark Drangsholt: Deciphering My Brain Fog
Mark Leavitt: Whipping up My Willpower
Want to receive the weekly What We Are Reading posts in your inbox? We’ve set up a simple newsletter just for you. Click here to subscribe. Do you have a self-tracking story, visualization, or interesting link you want to share? Submit it now!
When we decide to track one thing, we sometimes find that we are indirectly tracking something else. That is the theme of today’s talk.
When Mark Leavitt was 57, he found out that he had heart disease, a condition that runs in his family. Mark set about making some life changes. He tracked his weight while adopting a low-fat diet. His tracking showed him that he was making progress and that progress encouraged him to keep tracking. But once Mark’s weight loss stalled and then started to backslide (though he had maintained his diet) his desire to track dwindled and was then snuffed out by a major life event.
Though he was ostensibly tracking weight, this experience gave him some insight into his motivation. He began to build a mental model of his willpower. When was it strong? When was it weak? Using his background as a doctor to make assumptions on the nature of his willpower, he used the tracking of other lifestyle changes, such as movement and strength-training, to test those assumptions and better understand how to follow through on his intentions.
Watch below to see what Mark found worked for him and if you would like to see how Mark’s keeping up with his habits, you can check out his live dashboard here.
One of the benefits of long-term self-tracking is that one builds up a toolbox of investigatory methods that can be drawn upon when medical adversity hits. One year ago, when Mark Drangsholt experienced brain fog during a research retreat while on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, he had to draw upon the self-tracking tools at his disposal to figure out what was behind this troubling symptom.
Watch this invaluable talk on how Mark was able to combine his self-tracking investigation with his medical treatments to significantly improve his neurocognitive condition.
Here is Mark’s description of his talk:
What did you do?
I identified that I had neurocognitive (brain) abnormalities – which decreased my memory function (less recall) – and verified it with a neuropsychologist’s extensive tests. I tried several trials of supplements with only slight improvement. I searched for possible causes which included being an APOE-4 gene carrier and having past bouts of atrial fibrillation.
How did you do it?
Through daily, weekly and monthly tracking of many variables including body weight, percent body fat, physical activity, Total, HDL, LDL cholesterol, depression, etc. I created global indices of neurocognitive function and reconstructed global neurocog function using a daily schedule and electronic diary with notes, recall of days and events of decreased memory function, academic and clinical work output, etc. I asked for a referral to a neuropsychologist and had 4 hours of comprehensive neurocog testing.
What did you learn?
My hunch that I had developed some neurocognitive changes was verified by the neuropsychologist as “early white matter dysfunction”. A brain MRI showed no abnormalities. Trials of resveratrol supplements only helped slightly. There were some waxing and waning of symptoms, worsened by lack of sleep and high negative stress while working. A trial with a statin called, “Simvastatin” (10 mg) began to lessen the memory problems, and a dramatic improvement occurred after 2.5-3 weeks. Subsequent retesting 3 months later showed significant improvement in the category related to white matter dysfunction in the brain. Eight months later, I am still doing well – perhaps even more improvement – in neurocog function.
All over the world, people like you are getting together and talking about what they are learning from their personal data. This upcoming week, there are three such events. To go 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!
Tuesday (August 19)
QSXX Boston, Massachusetts
Another event from our great QS women’s group in Boston.
Wednesday (August 20)
Check out a wonderful group of trackers in the North Texas area.
Thursday (August 21)
This is a working meeting for people to make progress on their self-tracking projects amongst peers.
There is one QS Meetup this week. Check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar to find the next upcoming meet up near you. If you don’t see one near you, start your own!
Tuesday (August 12)
East Lansing, Michigan
Should be a great discussion in Michigan. If you are in the area, you should check it out!
This week there are five QS meetups planned all over the world. Follow the links below to learn more. You can also find 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 (August 4)
This show&tell has two talks on their agenda, one of which will be on the hardware used for self-tracking.
The NY women’s group will build on topics brought up in its last meeting with a discussion on hormones and the endocrine system.
This meetup’s discussion will be on learning from your genomic data.
Tuesday (August 5)
The Bay Area’s women’s group will have their sixth show&tell. This meetup will make time for updates on in-progress projects, as well as, completed projects
Wednesday (August 6)
The great folks in Pittsburgh are putting on their 22nd show&tell. One of the planned talks will be on heart rate variability.
How will children respond to a world where personal data is ubiquitous? Bill Schuller is starting to find out with his two young children and will be sharing his story at the upcoming 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference.
Bill started tracking his exercise and weight in 2010. His preschool-aged son, listening to his father talk about his daily metrics at the dinner table, began to imitate Bill’s tracking behavior, regularly stepping on the scale, not to watch his weight, but to “just check my numbers.” Bill then designed tracking games for him and his son. One of them involved putting things away in the house while tracking steps and gaining “clean-up points.”
This fun talk will feature more stories on the creative ways Bill and his children are playing with self-tracking. As a preview, we have a version of the talk that he gave in San Diego in March 2012. Watch the video and then find out at the conference what further data adventures Bill has had with his kids in the last year and a half.
The Quantified Self Global Conference will be held in San Francisco on October 10th and 11th. Registration is now open. As with all of our conferences, our speakers are members of the community. We hope to see you there!
While some people are using their data to help solve or, at least, alleviate seemingly intractable health issues, others are using their data to stave off issues before they occur. Daniel Rinehart talks about using sleep, happiness and biomarker data to keep himself in various “optimized zones” for his long-term health (filmed at the Boston QS Meetup).
At our Quantified Self conferences we focus our show&tell talks on personal, first person narratives of self-tracking and self-knowledge. But what if first person is actually two people instead of one? Well, that’s when things get interesting!
At the upcoming Quantified Self Global Conference we are excited to have Dr. Rosane Oliveira talking about her self-tracking experiments that she’s been conducting with her twin sister. This great talk will include explorations of genetic testing, metabolic biomarkers, gut microbiome and mobile monitoring of diet, weight, sleep, mood, and activity levels.
Lucky for us, we’ve already received a preview of sorts in the form of a wonderful talk Rosane presented at the Bay Area QS meetup group in March of 2012. Watch the video below and come prepared to learn more about what you Rosane was able to learn when she started tracking with her genetic double.
The Quantified Self Global Conference will be held in San Francisco on October 10th and 11th. Registration is now open. As with all our conferences our speakers are members of the community. We hope to see you there!