Tag Archives: boston
Siva Raj was interested in lowering his blood pressure. With a family history of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks he was worried about slightly elevated blood pressure (pre-hypertension). As someone engaged with understanding and building fitness applications he thought he would be able to lower his blood pressure by staying on track with a regular exercise program that focused on cycling. Interestingly his blood pressure measurement didn’t respond to his constant exercise or weight loss. After reading more research literature about the link between fitness and cardiovascular health Siva decided to change his training to improve his fitness. He decided to incorporate a increased intensity into his routine. After a short period of time he had increases in this fitness and was able to observe the reduction in blood pressure he was looking for. In the video below, filmed at the Boston QS meetup group, Siva explains his methods and talks about how he was able to track his body’s response to different fitness routines.
Natty Hoffman was interested in learning more about how she spent her money. Not satisfied with just categorizing expenses, she dove deeper into two years of transaction data to understand where here money was going and how well her spending habits reflected her ideals. In this talk, presented at the Boston QS Meetup group, Natty explains how she examined her spending data to see if she was supporting ethical, healthy, and local businesses.
Kay Stoner has a long history of battling chronic health issues, but what bothers her the most is her experience with frequent headaches. Kay has been tracking her headaches since 2007 after she had a hard time communicating with her healthcare providers. What followed were years of attempting different types of methods of tracking, including creating her own web application. After a fair bit of trial and error she’s began to move back from more technical methods and is using her own paper-based tracking system. Watch her talk, presented at the Boston QS meetup group, to learn about her experiences and what she’s learned from tracking her headaches on paper.
I’ve found that keeping a special journal to track my headaches really helps – both me, and my doctors. After several years of trial and error, I designed a system specifically for recording details of my headaches — when and where in my head they happen, how severe they are, and the details about my life at the time. It’s quick, it’s simple, and my doctors can see at a glance where I’m having issues, without wading through a lot of medical terminology.
The QSXX Boston Chapter held our fifth meetup on March 3rd, 2014. We had a guest Amy Merrill from The Hormone Project talk about the direction of this new project. As a group, we discussed how something like the Hormone Project might be beneficial to us. We all agreed that it would be awesome if we could track our hormones at home, instantly, without going through a doctor (also, unicorns.) Relevant hormone research (if it exists at all) can be difficult to understand, and isn’t always driven by those it might have the biggest impact on. Concrete examples about the types of hormones and ways we can track these hormones would be very helpful.
We also talked about how sharing stories is a key aspect of QS, and how we might be able to facilitate further discussion around both hormones and QS in general. We discussed the potential benefits of not only being able to track our own data related to hormones, but also to see data from other people. While there are clear merits in sharing information, we also discussed the potential privacy implications therein. Some possibilities for collaboration between QSXX and The Hormone Project might include group tracking projects and/or “hormone dinner parties.” It was exciting to have The Hormone Project here for QSXX and we hope to have them attend a meetup again in the near future.
A lot of topics come up during each QSXX meetup. Here are a few concrete items that our group found interesting:
This article in Model View Culture on QS and feminism. We discussed how QSXX does and doesn’t address what the author is calling for here.
Glow. This is one example of a period tracking app. We discussed how most period tracking apps today are primarily fertility based, and it would be nice for new apps and tools to think more critically about what their users might want.
Bringing Back My Real Self With Hormones. An interesting article from the New York Times on the potential impacts of hormones on the self.
Reporter App. We talked about this (relatively) new app for “reporting” on your day, and the advantages and disadvantages of services that ping you to enter data and services that you use to manually enter data when you remember to.
AliveCor iPhone ECG. We discussed this cell phone ECG case, which is now available for purchase on Amazon.
Lift’s The Quantified Diet. We examined how this experiment is an interesting first step toward “Quantified Us” and how we might apply something similar for a group tracking experiment of our own.
Pact. This came up as we were discussing motivations for tracking and maintaining habits. In this case, you can earn money when you reach your goals
The next QSXX Boston meetup will be held early this Summer. Stay tuned!
How do we spend our time?
Jared Chung was curious about how he was spending his days after he transitioned from his role as a consultant into his new startup venture. Inspired by pervious Quantified Self talks he decided to start tracking his time and his daily activities (work, exercise, sleep, etc.) using Google Calendar. This ongoing tracking project has helped him identify how he spends his day and how that compares to his planned activities. Watch this great talk filmed at the QS Boston Meetup to learn more about what Jared learned and how you can get started tracking your time
Awais Hussain is a student at Harvard, and he found himself asking the age-old question, “Where does my time go?” Using his online calendar Awais started tracking his daily activities. This tracking has given him some interesting insights into how he really works and accomplishes tasks. Watch this great talk to hear more about what Awais learned by keeping track of his time. (Filmed by the Boston QS Meetup Group.)
At a recent QS meetup in Boston, Gary shares a few quick insights on the challenges of restarting a tracking practice once you’ve stopped, gamification vs. motivation, and his experience of meditation. Check out the video below, as well as a more detailed discussion about his meditation practice.
Ryan Hagen is a doctoral student in clinical psychology who’s terrified of people getting therapy through Siri. That said, for his PhD project he was inspired to extend the work of Sandy Pentland and ginger.io correlating people’s passive smartphone behavior data with anxiety and depression. In the video below, Ryan explains his current three-month study, which you can check out or join here. (Filmed by the Boston QS Show&Tell meetup group.)
Carl Valle, track and field coach to elite athletes, believes that the three categories of things to measure for optimal health are activity, biochemistry, and cardiology. In the video below, he walks through his favorite tips for each of these. (Filmed by the Boston QS Show&Tell meetup group.)
Catherine Kerr does brain science related to mindfulness at Brown University Medical School. She points out that mindfulness traditions ask practitioners to simply focus closely on body sensations in order to bring attention to the present moment. Why does this help with depression? In the video below, Catherine explains some of her magnetoencephalopathy (MEG) research to answer this question, and suggests that detecting cortical changes may be one of the earliest, instinctive QS-related forms of self-awareness. (Filmed by the Boston QS Show&Tell meetup group.)