Tag Archives: science

What We Are Reading

Ernesto is in sunny Austin for SXSW, so I’m filling in to gather this week’s articles and links for your reading pleasure.

Articles

Apple ResearchKit concerns, potential, analysis by MobiHealthNews. ResearchKit was a big surprise coming out of Apple’s Special Event this week. It was quite difficult to select just one representative article about the ensuing conversation, so this round-up serves nicely.

#WhatIfResearchKit: What if Research Kit actually, truly, worked… by Christopher Snider. Okay, I failed to keep to one article on ResearchKit. This post chronicles a series of Twitter conversations on the question: if ResearchKit does work, what are the possibilities?

The Electric Mood-Control Acid Test by Kevin Bullis. Thync is a sort of evolved version of a transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) device. A technology with a lot of potential and controversy, this article explores why the brain-enhancing effects of the TDCS only work for some people. By the way, if you are a fan of Philip K. Dick, Thync may remind you of the mood organ that was in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Automated Learning by Nichole Dobo. Some school classrooms are experimenting with ”Blended learning”, a method of combining classroom teachers and computer-assisted lessons. A detail that stuck with me is the description of three large displays that show where each student is supposed to go that day, based on the results of the previous day’s lesson.

The Mouse Trap: Can One Lab Animal Cure Every Disease? by Daniel Engber. An in-depth how science’s predominant use of lab mice could be limiting our knowledge of disease. Of relevance to self-trackers because many models of optimal health are in part based on mouse studies.

Show&Tell

2014-Average-Sleep-Stages-by-Day-of-Week

Analyzing a Year of My Sleep Tracking Data by Bob Troia. This is a superb exploration of Bob’s sleep data from 2014 as collected by his Basis watch.

report_1

Notes on 416 Days of Treadmill Desk Usage by Neal Stephenson. The author of Snow Crash and The Cryptonomicon is a long time user of a treadmill desk, but when he began having pain in his left leg, he had to reevaluate how he used his favored tool.

Visualizations

 

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Qualities of #QuantifiedSelf by Christina Lidwin. A fascinating analysis of the #quantifiedself hashtag.

Access Links
First medical apps built with Apple’s ResearchKit won’t share data for commercial gain by Fred O’Connor
Talking Next-Gen Diabetes Tools with Dexcom Leaders by Mike Hoskins

From the Forum
Mood Tracking Methods?
Howto track laptop uptime
CCD or CCR conversion tools?
What gets measured, gets managed – Quantified Self in the workplace
Best ECG/EKG Tool for Exercise
Best iOS app to track water/coffee/alcohol intake?

This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
QS15 Sponsor Highlight: RescueTime
Quantified Self and Apple’s ResearchKit
Better by Default: An Access Conversation with John Wilbanks
QS15 Conference Preview: Jamie Williams on Tracking My Days
Quantified Self Styles

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a lovely little comic with a message that many self-trackers can relate to.

thesecret-web
The Secret by Grant Snider

 

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What We Are Reading

We hope you enjoy this week’s selection of links, show&tell posts, and visualizations!

Articles

Hacking Your Brain by The Economist. Increasing performance and cognitive functioning, reducing depression, improving memory – if you could use a simple tool to get all these done, would you? What if that device was delivering electrical current to your brain? That’s the promise of transcranial direct current stimulation.

Talking Next-Gen Diabetes Tools with Dexcom Leaders by Mike Hoskins. Wonderful interview here with Terry Gregg (chairman) and Kevin Sayer (CEO) of Dexcom. Particular focus is given to their reaction and ideas regarding the open source Nightscout project.

Scientists threatened by demands to share data by Victoria Schelsinger. An older article (2013) about the shift towards open data and data sharing in academic science and it’s potential impact and possible pitfalls.

”’I think the public thinks that we’re all learning from everyone else’s work. That’s not true, and furthermore, it’s not true in ways that are even worse than you might think.’” – Heather Piwowar

Changing Representation of Self-Tracking by Deborah Lupton. It’s always great to hear that Deborah has released new writing. Her thoughtful analysis about self-tracking, data as culture, and data as object is consistently fantastic. Great addition to her growing body of work here.

Why Pets Are the Future of Fitness Wearables by Annie Lowrey. An interesting take on how the rise of tracking tools for pets may impact pet owners. Reminds me of  research conducted by my old colleagues at San Diego State University: Physical activity, weight status, and neighborhood characteristics of dog walkers (Spoiler: Having a dog is associated with being more physically avtive.)

This guy is the Mark Zuckerberg of open-source genetics by Daniela Hernandez. A few weeks ago we highlighted an article by Daniela that focused on the fantastic openSNP project. She’s back with a profile of one of the founders, Bastian Greshake. (Full disclosure: I am openSNP member #610.)

Show&Tell

WinterSleep

Personal Sleep Monitors: Do They Work? by Christopher Winter. Superb experiment here to try and understand the accuracy of different sleep trackers.

What I’ve learned after 10 years of quantifying myself by Maxim Kotin. The title says is all.

Checkin distance from home.

Checkin distance from home.

A History of Checkins: Facebook Checkin Stats by Octavian Logigan. Octavian breaks down three years of his location checkin history and describes what he learned through examining seasonal trends, category breakdowns, and travel patterns.

Visualizations

FitbitEarPlugs

I love the sleep tracker, so I can quantify this kind of information! (I have a 2yo and a 5yo….) by reddit user EclecticBlue. Fun visualization here of Fitbit sleep data. Also, great comments in the thread.

LocalsTourists

Locals & Tourists by Mapbox & Eric Fischer. I could spend hours exploring this interactive map of tweet locations by “tourists” and “locals”. (Special thanks to Beau Gunderson for point out that Eric also did a similar project with geotagged Flickr photos)

HumanWinter

The Impact of Weather on Human Activity by Paul Veugen. The team at Human “1.9M activities in Boston & NYC to see the impact of weather on Human activity.” Make sure to click through for the full visualization.

Access Links
FCC & FDA moving connected health forward by establishing wireless medical test beds
Nike+ Running Expand Global Partnerships
Will Our Fitness Data Be Used Against Us?
As the “quantified self” industry explodes, who will control the data — us or them?

From the Forum
Quantified Chess
Monitoring Daily Emotions
Harmony Mood Tracker
General DIY metering of fitness (“ergo test”?)
Differences between ZEO devices?

This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
Gordon Bell: Every Beat of My Heart
QS15 Conference Preview: Stephen Cartwright on 17 Years of Location Tracking
What’s in My Gut

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What We Are Reading

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!

Articles
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.

Show&Tell
AustinWaterstop-25-word-frequency
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.

Visualizations

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!

SleepCycle_US-Wake-Up-Mood
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.

Access Links
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

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Introducing iMeRG: The Individual Metabolic Research Group

Here at QS Labs we take great pride in supporting a worldwide network of meetup groups. From Bucharest to the Bay Area, we have over 100 groups meeting to discuss self-tracking, share experiences, and learn from each other.

We wanted to highlight a new group, based in southern Oregon, that is using self-tracking to expand and influence medical knowledge within the healthcare system. Dr. Dawn Lemanne, a board certified and practicing oncologist, has started the new Individual Metabolic Research Group (iMeRG) to develop, test, and explore inexpensive way to prevent and treat chronic diseases related to lifestyle, through rigorous N of 1 research methods.

iMeRG

Currently the iMERG is a composed of physicians and other health care professionals frustrated by the rising rates of lifestyle driven chronic disease, and the failure of the large randomized controlled trial (RCT) to provide effective interventions. Inspired by QS, they are working together to develop and use rigorous N of 1 research designs, while using themselves (not their patients) as subjects. Members propose projects, and together they figure out how to do it. QS devices and philosophies play a major role in the data collection and analysis methods being talked about at the group.  Current proposals have included:

  • How best to measure the effect of combining intermittent fasting and exercise on blood ketone levels and inflammatory markers in a sedentary postmenopausal woman
  • The clinical manifestations of Familial Mediterranean Fever gene heterozygosity.

Join the group! If you hold a license to practice a health profession (MD, DO, DDS, DMD, RN, NP, PA, DC, ND, LAc, etc.), you’re interested in N of 1 research design and methods, and you’d like to be involved, please contact Dawn. All individuals are welcome, regardless of geographic location. If you’re in the southern Oregon area you can join their meetup group on February 28th. We’ll be posting updates from the group as their research progresses.

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The Quantified Self Institute

We are excited to be bringing a scientific and research track to the upcoming 2014 QS Europe Conference. We’ve been pushed and prodded by many of our friends in the QS community to make this happen. Today we’re highlighting one of those friends and collaborators, the Quantified Self Institute. Read below to learn more about their work and then register for the conference to join the conversation in person!

QSI logo

In 2012 the Hanze University of Applied Science founded the Quantified Self Institute (QSI) in collaboration with Quantified Self Labs. The mission of QSI is to encourage a healthy lifestyle through technology, science, and fun. We aim to bring the knowledge and experience of the QS community and the science community together in order to learn from each other.

We are a multidisciplinary group of researchers and teachers who work together with a network of universities, health care institutions and industry partners on personalized science, health and self-tracking.

We focus on the Big Five for Healthy Life (physical activity, food, sleep, stress & relaxation and social interaction) and conduct research on the availability, validity, and efficacy of self-tracking technologies.

Our ultimate goal is to find out by what means and to what extend self-tracking is useful for personal health. We look forward to exploring and along with worldwide QS Community. We hope you join us at the upcoming 2014 QS Europe Conference!

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Submit Your Quantified Self Research

QSEU14_small
We’ve been holding Quantified Self Conferences since 2011. Every year since then we’ve been approached by scientists and researchers in the academic community to help them find a way to incorporate their work and their ideas into our structure. After a few years of holding back, listening, and watching the research community become engaged with other scientists and the real-world QS practitioners we’re ready to take that next step.

We are excited to announce today that we are inviting scientists and non-scientists to join a research oriented poster session at our upcoming Quantified Self European Conference on May 10th and 11th.

These sessions are a way for us to support interesting work that doesn’t fit into our established show&tell format, including research results from academic and scientific studies relevant to QS practitioners. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Validity, reliability, usability, and effectiveness of self-tracking devices
  • Experiment design
  • Statistical and/or visualization methods
  • Social and psychological investigation into self-tracking practices
  • Social science research on the QS community

Our hope is that these posters and the conversations around them will help us (scientists and non-scientists) learn from each other, stimulate new ideas/projects, and to uncover new applications for the research findings.

How to submit a poster

The process is very simple. Simply send us a draft of your poster submission via email. We will be accepting submissions until April 14, 2014.  For format and other info, please read the instructions below. The posters will be reviewed for content and relevance; if you would like to be involved with the review process, or have any questions, please contact us.

Details

Posters should contain the following elements:

  • Title
  • Authors and affiliations
  • Sections:
    • Background
    • Method
    • Results
    • Discussion/Conclusions
    • QS Relevance
  • Contact information. We recommend including a picture of yourself so others at the conference can find you, and, if applicable, your twitter account.

Format:

  • You must use the A0 size (841 × 1189mm or 33.11 × 46.81 inches)
  • A PowerPoint template is provided for you to use.

Remember to Keep It Short and Simple (KISS). We want to stimulate creativity and strongly recommend the use of tables, figures, and visualizations. For examples and design tips we recommend the following articles:

Dates & Deadlines

Deadline for submission is April 14, 2014. We will conducting reviews and informing submitters of acceptance on a continual basis. All submitters will be notified by April 21, 2014. We look forward to seeing your inspiriting projects and findings.

Submit your poster now!





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Ian Eslick on Self-Tracking, Self-Experimentation, and Self-Science

“Personal experimentation is simply tracking, on a schedule.”

Ian Eslick is a scientist, researcher, and self-tracker. His unique history has led him down a path towards understanding what it means to understand yourself and your health in and outside the world of healthcare. Ian’s health history helped push him down this path. Since being diagnosed with psoriasis he’s been confronted with the difficult task of figuring out triggers, effects, and treatments as his symptoms changed over time. Ian, began to explore self-tracking by mentally noting what was going on in his life and his symptom severity. You would think that this “in my own head” tracking methodology would limit analytical capabilities, but it helped Ian create mental models that informed more consistent and rigorous tracking methods, as well as influenced his future research.

In this talk below Ian describes that research, both personal and community-based, that explored the concept of helping people learn how to create and engage with personal experimentation.

“What I came to in conclusion after all of this is that N of 1 is overkill for QS. It’s unnecessary level of rigor. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals are about scientific causal proof, but what I want to know is am I making a better decision. Is data improving my decision in some measurable way? Not is it a perfect decision or do I have proof. So we want to value personal significance over statistical significance. Statistical significance says that if I run this trial twenty more times I’m likely to get the same result, but what I want to know is should I keep doing this and in QS we’re never going to stop keep experimenting, in a way, because our life keeps going.”

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Donate Your Spit for Science

Scanadu, a valued annual sponsor of the Quantified Self, invites you to donate your spit for science! Check out the announcement below to learn more.

Do you have a cough, fever, sore throat, achy muscles, and/or a runny nose?

If you do, you can help us better understand the biology of upper respiratory infections and/or the flu. Donating your spit may, down the line, help reduce unnecessary antibiotic use, help limit the spread of respiratory pathogens and contribute to the design of a new product.

Benefits of participating:

  • An opportunity to participate in science and help Scanadu
  • A $10 Amazon gift card
  •  Upon request, we will be happy to share your experimental results. It is understood that this is not an approved diagnostic test and results should not be used for medical diagnosis.

Who can participate?

  • Children 6+ years and adults (parent/guardian consent required for children under the age of 18)
  • Currently experiencing a common cold, sore throat or influenza
  • Currently living in the United States

How do I participate?

Click the following link for more information and to sign-up: http://bit.ly/1dQNk8n

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Need more information? 

For questions regarding participation in this study and the collection of saliva, please contact scanaflu@scanadu.com or info@scanadu.com

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Daniel Gartenberg: The Role of QS in Scientific Discovery

Today’s breakout session preview for the upcoming QS conference comes from Daniel Gartenberg, organizer of the Washington DC QS meetup group. Here is Daniel describing his session “Is QS Science? The Role of QS in Scientific Discovery:”

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Do you believe in the power of using Quantified Self to solve some of science’s toughest questions, but have concerns about the validity of QS data?  There is actually a long scientific tradition of N=1 studies (i.e. studies conducted with a single participant).  Additionally, there are various advantages of N=1 studies, such as repeated, longitudinal, and naturalistic data.  These advantages of N=1 studies enable the personalization of treatments because they can take into account individual differences.

Yet N=1 studies are atypical in current scientific research.  We will be discussing why the scientific community frowns on N=1 studies, and how we can alleviate some of the scientific community’s concerns regarding QS.  This involves understanding what makes something ‘Science.’ Additionally, this will involve identifying threats to validity when conducting studies and QS research.  Threats to validity include, but are not limited to: Mortality, History, Maturation, Treatment Fidelity, Treatment Interaction, Compensatory Rivalry, Regression Towards the Mean, and Reactivity.

If done correctly, QS can be a new standard in scientific rigor, but this will require a concerted and collaborative effort by the QS community that will involve developing a system where QSers can post their data to the cloud and have the data aggregated and analyzed across individuals (e.g. curetogether).  The potentials and challenges for creating a QS database will be discussed.

Come to this breakout session if you are trying to make sense of your QS data, are interested in the scientific method, are interested in data analysis techniques, or want to create systems and tools that make QS data meaningful to the general population.

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Gustavo Glusman on Introducing QS into the Scientific Community

Gustavo Glusman is a member of Leroy Hood’s group at the Institute for Systems Biology. At a recent Hood group retreat, the main topic of conversation was Quantified Self! In the video below, Gustavo gives a fascinating recap of the retreat, including how the researchers talked about QS, what experiments they did on themselves, and the main challenges they see with QS from a scientific perspective. (Filmed by the Seattle QS Show&Tell meetup group.)

Gustavo Glusman: Introducing QS in the scientific community (Seattle) from David Reeves on Vimeo.

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