Tag Archives: insulin

Diabetes, Metabolism, and the Quantified Self

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This is a visualization of one month of my blood sugar readings from October 2012. I see that my control was generally good, with high blood sugars happening most often around midnight (at the top of the circle). -Doug Kanter

Richard Bernstein, an engineer with diabetes, pioneered home blood glucose monitoring. What he learned about himself contradicted the medical doctrine of his day, but Bernstein went on to become an MD himself, and established a thriving practice completely devoted to helping others with diabetes. We think of Dr. Bernstein as a hero because he used self-measurement to support his own learning, and shared what he learned for general benefit.

Tracking personal metabolism is a necessity for diabetics, and it is also something that will become increasingly common for many people who want to understand and improve their metabolism. Diabetics are also leading the fight for personal access to personal data, and we’re looking forward to meeting inspiring activists and toolmakers today at the DiabetesMine D-Data Exchange meeting in San Francisco. In honor of this meeting, we’ve put together an anthology of sort of QS Show&Tell talks about diabetes and metabolism data.

Jana Beck
Jana is a Type 1 diabetic and data visualization practitioner who has been working on creating new techniques for understanding that data from her Dexcom continuous blood glucose monitor. In this talk, she described some of her newest techniques and her ongoing work with Tidepool.org. You can also view her original QS show&tell talk here.

Doug Kanter
Doug has been featured here on the QS website many times. We first learned about Doug through his amazing visualizations of his own data (like the image above). At the 2013 QS Global Conference, Doug shared what he learned from tracking his diabetes, diet, activity, and other personal data and his ongoing work with the Databetes project.

We spoke with Doug about his experience with tracking, visualizing and understanding his diabetes data. You can listen to that below.

James Stout
James is a graduate student, professional cyclist, and a Type 1 diabetic. In this talk at the QS San Diego meetup group he talked a bit about how he manages his diabetes along with his near super human exercise schedule and how he uses his experience to inspire others. (Check out this great article he wrote for Ride Magazine.)

Brooks Kincaid
Brooks, a Type 1 diabetic, was tracking his blood glucose manually for years before switching to a continuous blood glucose meter. In this talk he describes what he’s learned from his data and why he prefers a modal day view.

Bob Troia
Bob tracked his fasting blood glucose, diet, and activity to find out what could help him lower his risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Vivienne Ming
Vivienne’s son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two years ago and she’s applied her scientific and data analysis background to understand her son’s life.

Seth Roberts
Seth has a long history of tracking and experimenting with his metabolic data. In one of his last QS talks, he spoke about how alternate day fasting was impacting his blood sugar.

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Vivienne Ming on Tracking Her Son’s Diabetes

Vivienne Ming is an accomplished neuroscientist and entrepreneur. When she’s not conducting research or working on new ideas she’s busy taking care of her son Felix. Two years ago Felix was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Vivienne and her partner tackled his diagnosis head on and started tracking everything they could. In this talk, presented at the 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference, Vivienne explains what they’re learning together.

We’ll be posting videos from our 2013 Global Conference during the next few months. If you’d like see talks like this in person we invite you to join us in Amsterdam for our 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference on May 10 and 11th.

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Numbers From Around the Web: Round 8

If you have diabetes, or know someone who does, you’ve probably encountered a blood glucose monitor. Like many medical devices, design and data visualization are usually an afterthought. While there are many new exciting products coming to market like the iBGStar designed by Agamatrix, there are individuals who want to learn more than just their current blood glucose values. Diabetes care is also moving towards an automated and coordinated process driven by continuous blood glucose monitoring and implantable insulin pumps. These devices live on data, huge amounts of data, but what do their users know? More specifically, what do their users understand about their data, their condition, and themselves?

Doug Kanter is a designer, photographer and a student in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU. He’s also a Type-1 diabetic who has a keen interest in applying actionable design and interaction schemes to the data he gathers from his monitoring systems.

It is time to re-imagine the entire user experience of being a patient with diabetes. There is tremendous potential in applying information technology, creative design and research into behavior change into a comprehensive product for patients. Technology-based solutions are increasingly important resources in these times of skyrocketing treatment costs and lmited doctor availability.

Doug has been using his skills to better visualize and understand his own data, particularly his continuous blood glucose monitor. His first project, 7729, explored one month of his continuous blood glucose monitoring – the 7729 readings to be exact.

His second project expanded on the 7729 project to include not only his blood glucose monitoring, but also the insulin he was receiving. Insulin on Board, is based on 100 days of data collection and includes 820 insulin pump reading and 25,012 blood glucose reading. By coordinating these two data sets he was able to look for patterns and identify the efficacy of his insulin dosing.

The goal of Insulin on Board was to better understand the relationship between the insulin I take and the resulting blood sugar readings. It visualizes not simply when I take a dose of insulin, but when that insulin “kicks in.” Because insulin has a latency, it is helpful to see it actually has an effect on blood sugar. Often times I’ll take two or more doses of insulin within a few hours. Insulin on Board calculates the sum overlapping effect of these dosages.

I think patients like me could benefit massively from having improved visualizations that give you both a solid overview of how you are doing but also allow you to dial down into the details if you want.

Being a student and designer, Doug has done a great job explaining the process he takes for developing these visualizations. If you’re interesting in learning more about how he created these visualizations, what he learned, and future work you can follow along at Databetic and his blog.

Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

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